09/09/20 (The Gilded Chamber)

What is the Gilded Chamber?

I came across it a few months ago, in the Hawick Word Book, and list everything I’ve managed to find out about it online and in my small shelf of books about the town here:

the Gilded Chamber – “a series of get togethers taking place initially in a golden decorated room at the Gretel bar in the 1960s, which grew into an annual event. It is a sing-song for men only, and traditionally accompanied by potted-meat sandwiches”

Upon doing a duckduckgo search for Hawick Gilded Chamber, the results aren’t very enlightening.

There’s a facebook post from August 2010 from someone called Iain who mentions he’ll be performing at it. There’s also a post from 2019 from someone called Mike saying he won’t be able to attend due to ‘horsey things’

On the 7th of August 2020, it was reported in The Hawick Paper that the event wouldn’t be going ahead later in the month as planned due to Covid-19 restrictions, quoting Ian Landles, a well-known Hawick resident.

Gilded Chamber cancelled - the hawick paper

“Gilded Chamber cancelled
The 54th annual reunion of the Gilded Chamber is the latest function to fall victim to the coronavirus restrictions. The get together is [customarily] held on the last Friday in August at the Volunteer Park clubrooms. “It was cancelled as social distancing was obviously going to be an issue but not as much as not being allowed to sing,” said Ian Landles. the function began by patrons of the Gretel Bar in Teviot Crescent and at first by invitation only. Perceived to be exclusive, the room where it was held was nicknamed the Gilded Chamber and remained so after the move to the Volunteer. Usually around 70 attend, getting through 40 party pieces and a lot more potted meat.”

I’m keen to find out whether the event has continued to be an ‘exclusive’, men-only event (especially as the article claims it’s no longer by invitation only), and I’m curious to find out more in general about this elusive happening.