Posted on 9th October 2017 / 486
Industry Type : Textiles
Power Type : Steam
Public or Private Site? : Private Land
Condition : Ruins and Remnants

Caerlee Mill started out as Brodie’s Mill, which was built circa 1790. It was the first custom-built woollen textile mill in the Scottish Borders.

Caerlee Mill remained in continuous production until 2013, producing high quality knitwear using fine cashmere yarn.

Innerleithen’s industrial heritage was built on a thriving textiles industry, spanning the 18th to the 21st century, which transformed Innerleithen from a small rural village into a significant mill town. Manufacturing high quality wool and yarns for leading High Street brands culminated in the town’s reputation as a producer of world class cashmere and knitted garments, most notably Ballantyne’s.

The original, water-powered, factory was equipped to turn fleeces from Borders sheep into woven cloth and garments and was modernised on several occasions during the 19th century, giving way to steam in the 1840s.

Change continued during the 20th century when Caerlee Mill became a “hosiery”, producing high quality knitwear using fine cashmere yarn. This led to a flourishing export trade in the 1960s and 1970s when the mill was run by the award winning Ballantyne Sportswear. The five storey Brodie building is listed but nearly all the other redundant factory premises now await demolition to make way for houses, a fate which has already befallen the town’s other mills.

When it was constructed the original five-floor block of Caerlee Mill was one of the earliest industrial textile units of its type in the Scottish Borders. It was built between 1788 and 1790 at the behest of Traquair-born Alexander Brodie for £3,000 to manufacture woollen cloth. He hoped it would provide a good living for local people and bring the benefits of the industrialisation to Innerleithen and Traquair.

The factory was rented out to David Ballantyne in the 1820s and here his 18 year old son, Henry, started his first weaving business. In the 1830s the Dow brothers manufactured tartan material and fancy shawls for the Glasgow market but this venture ultimately failed. When the Second Statistical Account was compiled in 1834, 50 people were employed in the mill. Working a 10 hour day weavers now earned only 14s (70p) per week; slubbers also 14s per week; piecers 3s (15p) and shawl-plaiters 4s (20p).

The mill remained the property of Brodie’s estate until 1839 when it was sold to the Galashiels company Messrs Gill & Sime. Robert Gill, a knowledgeable and innovative textiles manufacturer, took over, modernized and enlarged Caerlee Mill, adding steam-power to that provided by the water-wheel. By the 1860s the mill contained 6 sets of carding machines, 30 power and 20 hand looms, 4,200 spindles and employed over 100 people. Exclusively Australian or foreign wool was used to make tweeds, tartans and flannel shirtings.

Two new mills were built and for the next 150 years Innerleithen was a thriving woollen textile town.

Caerlee Mill was sold in 1868 to J.W.Walker & Co. and in 1886 to John, James and Henry Ballantyne, sons of Henry Ballantyne of Walkerburn.

Today we find Caerlee Mill in its death throes. The factory will follow the path of the other great Innerleithen textile mills and be part converted, part demolished for housing. Find out more – HERE!

Roger Bainbridge, who is responsible for the design and delivery of Whiteburn Projects said: “With our Caerlee Mill project we hope to show that new-build housing can be designed and delivered with consideration for the heritage of the site at the heart of our proposals.

“We want to collaborate with Scottish Borders Council to deliver an award-winning development that puts Innerleithen on the property map as an incredible place to live, and it is our aim to offer desirable homes where people want to live, in a place where they will be proud to contribute to its future legacy.”

Whiteburn Projects have a track record for the regeneration of historic and post-industrial sites and buildings across Scotland, so fingers crossed!

 

 

Caerlee Mill, Innerleithen, Scotland

Caerlee Mill

Caerlee Mill started out as Brodie’s Mill, which was built circa 1790. It was the first custom-built woollen textile mill in the Scottish Borders.

Caerlee Mill remained in continuous production until 2013, producing high quality knitwear using fine cashmere yarn.

Innerleithen’s industrial heritage was built on a thriving textiles industry, spanning the 18th to the 21st century, which transformed Innerleithen from a small rural village into a significant mill town. Manufacturing high quality wool and yarns for leading High Street brands culminated in the town’s reputation as a producer of world class cashmere and knitted garments, most notably Ballantyne’s.

The original, water-powered, factory was equipped to turn fleeces from Borders sheep into woven cloth and garments and was modernised on several occasions during the 19th century, giving way to steam in the 1840s.

Change continued during the 20th century when Caerlee Mill became a “hosiery”, producing high quality knitwear using fine cashmere yarn. This led to a flourishing export trade in the 1960s and 1970s when the mill was run by the award winning Ballantyne Sportswear. The five storey Brodie building is listed but nearly all the other redundant factory premises now await demolition to make way for houses, a fate which has already befallen the town’s other mills.

When it was constructed the original five-floor block of Caerlee Mill was one of the earliest industrial textile units of its type in the Scottish Borders. It was built between 1788 and 1790 at the behest of Traquair-born Alexander Brodie for £3,000 to manufacture woollen cloth. He hoped it would provide a good living for local people and bring the benefits of the industrialisation to Innerleithen and Traquair.

The factory was rented out to David Ballantyne in the 1820s and here his 18 year old son, Henry, started his first weaving business. In the 1830s the Dow brothers manufactured tartan material and fancy shawls for the Glasgow market but this venture ultimately failed. When the Second Statistical Account was compiled in 1834, 50 people were employed in the mill. Working a 10 hour day weavers now earned only 14s (70p) per week; slubbers also 14s per week; piecers 3s (15p) and shawl-plaiters 4s (20p).

The mill remained the property of Brodie’s estate until 1839 when it was sold to the Galashiels company Messrs Gill & Sime. Robert Gill, a knowledgeable and innovative textiles manufacturer, took over, modernized and enlarged Caerlee Mill, adding steam-power to that provided by the water-wheel. By the 1860s the mill contained 6 sets of carding machines, 30 power and 20 hand looms, 4,200 spindles and employed over 100 people. Exclusively Australian or foreign wool was used to make tweeds, tartans and flannel shirtings.

Two new mills were built and for the next 150 years Innerleithen was a thriving woollen textile town.

Caerlee Mill was sold in 1868 to J.W.Walker & Co. and in 1886 to John, James and Henry Ballantyne, sons of Henry Ballantyne of Walkerburn.

Today we find Caerlee Mill in its death throes. The factory will follow the path of the other great Innerleithen textile mills and be part converted, part demolished for housing. Find out more – HERE!

Roger Bainbridge, who is responsible for the design and delivery of Whiteburn Projects said: “With our Caerlee Mill project we hope to show that new-build housing can be designed and delivered with consideration for the heritage of the site at the heart of our proposals.

“We want to collaborate with Scottish Borders Council to deliver an award-winning development that puts Innerleithen on the property map as an incredible place to live, and it is our aim to offer desirable homes where people want to live, in a place where they will be proud to contribute to its future legacy.”

Whiteburn Projects have a track record for the regeneration of historic and post-industrial sites and buildings across Scotland, so fingers crossed!

 

 

Caerlee Mill, Innerleithen, Scotland

Caerlee Mill
Industry Type : Textiles
Power Type : Steam
Public or Private Site? : Private Land
Condition : Ruins and Remnants
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