IN THE summer of 1870 Tillicoultry parish began enquiries into becoming a burgh, which could only be conferred on a town by the local sheriff if it proved its worth.

With the coming of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act of 1862, any town, but not village, could apply, with the money required being collected by the local commissioners by means of a tax on all houses in the parish.

In December 1870, the Alloa sheriff, George Munro, (also Monro) received the petition from the townsfolk asking him to designate Tillicoultry as a Police Burgh and with it, its sphere of influence.

The petitioners to the court included eight people working in the woollen industry and two who were local tradesmen, with James Wallace acting on their behalf as agent.

It is self-evident the townsfolk wanted this as only three were against the idea, due to expense

One of these was J&R Archibald of Devonvale Mills who saw little incentive to support it as they would, they believed, not benefit from the scheme.

The other opponents were the local landowner Robert Balfour Wardlaw Ramsay and the North British Railway Company.

Munro required all those whose homes were within the boundary to hold a meeting. This was held at the Popular Institute, or Town Hall, on Saturday, January 21, 1871.

The speaker was John McTurk, who told the audience that improvements could, and would, be made if the town became a burgh. He won over the few remaining doubters.

On February 25, elections were held for the nine proposed commissioners from the 18 men who stood. Sixteen of these were involved in the woollen industry.

Robert Walker, James Archibald, James Paton senior, Archibald Walker, David Drysdale, Robert Kier, Hugh Cameron, Robert Young and Henry Wardlaw were duly elected.

Only Paton, who was ill, was absent from the first meeting of the commissioners held in the town hall on February 27.

Though absent, Paton was voted in as chairman, although he resigned a year later. And Archibald Walker took over, becoming the first Provost of the town in 1873.

On March 6, 1871, Robert Buchanan, the sheriff clerk depute, was appointed as town clerk, the first of only four to hold the post. Robert Murray was appointed surveyor of paving and drainage and inspector of cleansing while William Gray, a local banker, became treasurer.

Further appointments were made, and committees set up, such as the finance committee.

The police burgh lasted just over 100 years until it was abolished due to local government reorganisation in 1975.