The growing of grapes in Scotland is not common practice – but at one time the village of Clovenfords was renowned across the UK and western Europe for its vineries.
This photograph at the Tweed Vineries was taken during the 1920s.
The vineries were established in 1869 by William Thomson who was head gardener to the Duke of Buccleuch. In a good growing season they produced up to 15,000lbs of grapes and their varieties included Black Alicante, Muscat of Alexandra and Gros Colman.
London was principal market of the vineries, but the grapes from Clovenfords also found favour in Europe and were awarded a gold medal by the Emperor of France for their excellence.
Grapes were grown under glass and encouraged by five miles of hot water pipes, and were available from July until January. The glasshouses also produced flowers and plants that were taken by train daily from the village station to Edinburgh where they were sold at Thomson’s shop in Castle Street.
Advertisements issued by Wm. Thomson & Sons offered “palms and various other plants grown in quantity”, while their tomatoes were described as being “of the finest quality”. And Thomson’s manure was branded “celebrated” and ideal for vines, plants and vegetables.
William Thomson died in 1895 and the vineries closed in 1959. The site is now a housing estate.
Compiled by Bob Burgess