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Knockando Woolmill SCOTLAND

Introduction

Knockando Woolmill sits in the Spey Valley, on the same site it has occupied for over 230 years. Fresh, contemporary designs are woven alongside traditional tweeds and classic woollen blankets - all produced with the same attention to detail and skilled craftsmanship that has been at the heart of the Woolmill since the beginning.

Our Story

Originally part of a small croft, the Woolmill was passed down through generations of families who worked the land as well as carding, spinning and weaving with the local wool. Listed as the 'Wauk Mill' in parish records from 1784, the Woolmill still uses machinery dating from 1870 as well as more efficient, modern machinery.

The Woolmill is one of the few surviving examples of a traditional district mill, and worked with local farmers by converting the fleece from their sheep into cloth and blankets.

The Woolmill is now developing new products as well as re-vitalising old ones, such as the production of natural knitting yarns and bespoke tartans & tweeds. Contact Us if you would like to discuss ordering bespoke woven products.

Timeline

1784
1845
1865
1870s
1915
1930
1945
Early 1970s
2000
2012
2016
2017

The Waulk Mill

William and Anne Grant are listed in Parish records as “fulling” wool from local sheep at Knockando Waulk Mill.

'Waulking' means cloth fulling/shrinking but their activities may also have included one or all of wool washing, dyeing and carding.

Simon Fraser

Simon Fraser, a hand loom weaver and local farmer, buys the Mill.

A. Smith and Son

Parish records now show the Mill being owned by Alexander Smith. Alexander Smith forms A. Smith and Son, the company name until 1975.

From this point, the Mill was continuously owned by same family – including nephew Duncan Stewart – until 1976.

Modernisation at the Mill

An ambitious programme of modernisation takes place at the Mill with a waterwheel installed and processes mechanised.

In 1900 carding machinery and the spinning mule are purchased from the Laidlaw mill in Rothiemay.

World War One

Hundreds of blankets are supplied to the War Office for the troops.

A drying shed had to be built to dry the blankets in bad weather in order to meet the demand.

Duncan Stewart

Duncan Stewart begins working in the Mill.

In 1938 James Smith died and Duncan Stewart and his aunt, Emma, go into partnership and run the company.

The Flood

The Mill suffers a significant setback when part of the weaving shed is washed away in a flood.

Weaving was undertaken in the open air until the mill could be repaired.

Newcomers to the Mill

Hugh Jones, John Widdaker and a number of other undergraduates touring the area begin learning to weave under the instruction of Duncan Stewart.

In 1976 Hugh Jones takes over the Mill from Duncan Stewart and runs the Mill for the next 30 years.

The Knockando Woolmill Trust

The Knockando Woolmill Trust is formed.

In 2004 the Mill is nominated as the Scottish finalist for the BBC programme Restoration.

Official Opening

HRH Prince Charles officially opens the nearly restored Mill.

The restoration was fully completed in 2014.

Woolmill Wins EU Prize for Cultural Heritage

Knockando Woolmill is one of the winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s highest honour in the heritage field.

The Woolmill received the award for the category 'Conservation'.

Modernisation at the Mill

Further modernisation at the Mill with the introduction of computer aided design software.

The first annual New Woven Textile Designer Award competition takes place with Jessica Cutler (graduate, Textiles in Practice, Manchester School of Art) the winner.

The Knockando Woolmill Trust

About The Trust

The Knockando Woolmill Trust is a registered Scottish Charity which was set up in 2000 in order to rescue the unique and historic site. The aim of the Trust is to promote and educate people about its unique heritage and to ensure the Woolmill survives the next 200 years.

Find out more about The Trust.

The Restoration

The Trust raised significant funding to restore the buildings and machinery, train new spinners and weavers and to keep manufacturing going. Restoration work on site began in 2010 and the Woolmill has been open to the public from 1st June 2012, giving the Woolmill a whole new lease of life.

Find out more about The Restoration

The Future

Although the main task of restoring the Woolmill and setting up a structure which will ensure its financial future is complete, help is still needed with fundraising for specific projects and improvements

Find out how you can support the Trust.

About the Company

Since 2012

Quality, integrity and sustainability are foremost in our thoughts as we design and create our unique ranges of specialist woollen tweed and tartan.

Made in Scotland

All our products are manufactured at our historic site on Speyside using skills and traditions passed down through the generations.

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