A FAMED sweet maker and lullaby writer from the Borders is set to be honoured in a museum.

Robert Coltart, the sweet seller and writer of the Scots lullaby Ally Bally Bee whose presence was brought to life in the Coulter's Candy statues in Galashiels' Market Square.

Now, local historian Graeme McIver, Borders MSP Christine Grahame, and Galashiels and District councillor Fay Sinclair have put forward plans for a museum dedicated to him.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, said: “The story of Robert Coltart, former weaver turned confectioner of Gala, known as the author of what is perhaps the world’s first advertising jingle “Ally Bally Bee” has been brought alive by Graeme McIver’s passionate telling of what’s known of his exploits around the Borders.

“I’ve long thought a small and humble museum dedicated to such an intriguing and mischievous man could be a welcome addition to the cultural offer in Galashiels so it’s great to have Graeme and Fay on board with real enthusiasm to take the idea forward.”

Although plans are in their infancy, the group behind the museum have already held talks with Scottish Borders Council (SBC) about using the recently closed toilet block at Bank Street Gardens as the museum's new home.

Councillor Sinclair added: “My dad sang Ally Bally Bee to me as a child and I sang it to my boys, but it wasn’t until I moved to Galashiels that I learnt anything about the flamboyant character behind the lullaby.

“We’re still in the early stages, but I’m delighted to be working with Graeme and Christine to progress plans for a museum to tell more of Coltart’s life in Victorian Galashiels, as well as how his ditty came to be sung around the world.

“I was really surprised to discover there’s no headstone to mark Coltart’s resting place in Eastlands Cemetery so that’s something we’ll be seeking public support to rectify early in the new year.”

Mr McIver has spent the past 15 years researching the famous Galashiels candy man.

He added: “Coulter’s Candy is known around the world as one of Scotland’s most beloved traditional songs, but there’s so much more to the man behind it, Robert Coltart.

“Over the past 15 years I’ve been on a journey to find out more about the famous Borders Candyman which has led me to hours pouring over family trees, documents in the national archive and even court records to help piece together a picture of his life.

"There’s so much to tell and a museum in the town would be fitting to highlight the fact that Ally Bally’s frae Guild Auld Galae.”