Gala chosen as home of £5M textiles centre

D Ballantyne Brothers and Co Ltd - Tweed Mill in Peebles - The warp is wound on the warp mill at Peebles
D Ballantyne Brothers and Co Ltd - Tweed Mill in Peebles - The warp is wound on the warp mill at Peebles

Galashiels is to be home to the new £5million Scottish Centre of Textiles, after a meeting involving the project team and educational professionals.

After the meeting in Galashiels on Friday, it was announced the School of Textiles & Design at Heriot-Watt University and the Scottish Centre of Textiles (SCOT) project team had agreed to proceed with the first phase of the initiative, which will see the creation of a National Textiles Archive for Scotland in Galashiels, and with direct contact with the university’s campus at Netherdale.

Professor Fiona Waldron, head of the School of Textiles & Design, told us: “With the education sector and the textile industry working together, the value of such an archive would be immense, further enhancing the reputation and innovative contribution of Scottish textiles on the global stage and adding to the tourist and professional footfall through the Scottish Borders and beyond, with all the added financial benefits that this would accrue.”

Chairman of SCOT, Hamish Carruthers from Gattonside, added: “The project has taken more than three years to bring to fruition and the trustees of SCOT welcome the unanimous support we received at a meeting, jointly chaired by Michael Moore MP and Lord Purvis of Tweed, at Borders College a 
few days ago, with representatives of senior management in Scotland’s textile and textile-related industries, including James Sugden, formerly of Johnston’s of Elgin and a SCOT Trustee.”

Also present at Friday’s meeting were professionals from the local museum and curatorial sector, as well as representatives from the Old Gala Club and Scottish Tartans Authority, plus local archive owners.

Mr Moore said that choosing where to locate the project in the Borders had proved a difficult process – Selkirk had been the project team’s original choice as home for the centre, but this was ditched after consultants said footfall numbers would be too low to make it viable.

The reopening of the railway and other nearby attractions such as Abbotsford, also helped swing things in Galashiels’ favour and it emerged the eventual winner.

“This will bring together historic and contemporary textile collections produced in Scotland, for the public and global researchers to enjoy,” said Mr Moore.