Framed in Time

Whereas Dawson International PLC has dominated the headlines in TheSouthern in recent weeks as the future of Barrie Knitwear in Hawick is threatened, it was all so different in 1983.

This photograph, taken from our archive, shows the top table guests at the Scottish College of Textiles centenary dinner in November of that year.

One of the speakers was Sir Alan Smith, president of Dawson International. Proposing the toast to the college – past, present and future, he spoke of the problems facing the industry, but added that life was never meant to be easy.

He said marketing his brands was made all the easier as the goods were made in Scotland, and that all over the world, the “made in Scotland” brand stood for quality and craftsmanship.

Looking to the future for the textile trade, he said: “There are going to be difficulties and challenges, but we can knock spots off the opposition, providing we work hard and get on with it.”

Of course, the industry, even then, was taking a terrible battering as customers elected to head east for cheaper deals.

But there were plaudits for the college from another local textile giant, Sir Russell Sanderson, who replied to Sir Alan’s toast.

He said: “The excellence of an education learned at an institution such as this concerns one thing only, and that is the ability of some to teach and others to learn, and in this connection I believe that the textile industry has been well served by the college over the past century.”

He also revealed that Scottish Secretary of State George Younger had given the green light for a Scottish Textiles Technical Centre to be set up in Galashiels.

The picture shows, back row from left: Ian McKenzie Gray; Sir Russell Fairgrieve; Sir Russell Sanderson; Sir Alan Smith; college principal Cyril Furniss; and James Walker. Front row from left: Mrs Helen Gray; Lady Fairgrieve; Lady Sanderson; Lady Smith; Jennifer Furniss and Anna Walker.