In October 1902, the War Office purchased Stobs Estate, near Hawick, for use as a military camp. The military moved in early 1903 adapting the area for troop training and within a few months, up to 20,000 troops were under canvas at Stobs. There was much concern in the town that this influx of military personnel living in and around the town could dilute the old established traditions and customs of the town and perhaps impair what made Hawick so enjoyable for its own inhabitants.
On 30th November 1903, ten prominent townsmen issued the following letter to about a hundred other townsmen:
A MEETING to formally inaugurate a HAWICK "CALLANTS" Club will be held in The TOWER HOTEL, on the evening of TUESDAY 8th December at eight o'clock, which you are respectfully invited to attend.
In view of the probable large influx of population in the near future the time is thought to be opportune to form this Club, the objects of which are fully explained on this Draft Copy of Rules, annexed.
As the Membership of the Club will be strictly limited, we shall be glad, in the event of you being unable to attend the meeting, if you will communicate at once with the Interim Secretary, Mr James Edgar,5 High Street, as to whether you desire to become a Member or not.
MARTIN DECHAN, T. D. DARLING, THOMAS KER, WALTER SCOTT, ADAM LAING, WM. N. GRAHAM,
A. H. DRUMMOND, HUGH ANDERSON, J. E. D. MURRAY, JAMES EDGAR
The first meeting
The first formal meeting was held on 8th December 1903 and Hawick Callants Club was born with around 30 members. The objects of the Club were, and still are:
· The cultivation of local sentiment
· The preservation of the ancient customs and institutions of the town of Hawick and its history and
· The fostering of local art and literature
· The commemoration of important local incidents
· The perpetuation of the memories of worthy townsmen.
Composition of the club
Members of the Club must be connected with the town or it's immediate neighbourhood by birth or descent from a native, or long residence or association, and must be a supporter of the Common Riding. The Club comprises 200 Ordinary Members and a number of Honorary Members, Honorary Life Members and Overseas Members. There are two Affiliated Clubs, Melbourne Hawick Callants Club, and Hawick Callants Club of New South Wales, Sydney, both formed in 1931.
In 2004 the Club celebrated its Centenary and under President Tom Hartop, a full year of Special Centenary events took place.