Stanley Mills, Scotland

This afternoon, I visited Stanley Mills in Perthshire, located on the banks of the River Tay central Scotland.

This is now a visitor attraction but was a significant complex of water powered cotton mills which were in operation from 1786 to 1989. An important example of Britain’s industrial history.

Wheelpits at Stanley Mills, Scotland

Over the 200 year life of the site the buildings were not static but were added to, demolished or enlarged as circumstances demanded. The mills were originally powered by water wheels using the the fast flowing Tay but in 1876 turbines were installed to generate electricity to provide  power.

Stanley Mills, Scotland

A summary chronology of the Mills is as follows:

  • Built 1786 by local merchants with support from Richard Arkwright.
  • Closed in 1799 due to a fire and adverse market conditions.
  • Bought in 1801 by James Craig with support from David Dale of New Lanark.
  • Failed and closed in 1813,
  • Bought by Buchanan & Co of Glasgow in 1823 and prospered.
  • Sold 1852 to Samuel Howard.
  • Closed in 1860s due to the Cotton Fa in a polmine.
  • F.S. Sandeman acquired control in 1876. Electric turbines installed and a new product, cotton belting, introduced.
  • Prospered during WW1 and WW2 by supplying webbing for the armed forces.
  • In 1916 manufactured ‘endless’ cotton belt for manufacture of cigarettes.
  • Switched to artificial fibres in 1960s.
  • Closed 1989.

This massive site is in a pleasant location and deserving of a visit for those who wish to connect with the industrial past.

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