History in Action

Among the amazing castles, homes, gardens and, of course, battlefields that the National Trust for Scotland looks after there are some great places of industrial heritage which we thought we’d take a little look at today.

Firstly, one of our favourites, and perfect for us wannabe writers, Robert Smail’s Printing Works.

smails
Robert Smail’s Printing Works

 

Located in the Scottish borders, this small business first starting printing in 1856 and continues to this day. It is a fantastic place, a real treasure trove of items with newspapers, ledgers and paper stacked everyone. Details of every job that the company took on in over 100 years was kept and catalogued. And today, you can still see the machinery in action and be taken back to the time of the Victorian printer. You can try typesetting and letter pressing all with the tremendous sounds of industry in action around you. It’s a fantastically fun place to see and great that it still makes some of the Trusts literature we use today.

Over in the east, we have the lovely site of Preston Mill.

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Preston Mill

 

Some people will recognise this as one of the locations in the Outlander TV series and it’s easy to see why it was chosen, with its unique charm and character. Today the site offers guided tours taking you inside to see the workings of what was East Lothians last working water mill. A mill has been on the site since 1599 but the building would have changed a few times over the years. With its distinctive Dutch style conical-roof it is instantly recognisable and offers a lovely escape from the cities to a quieter spot.

Looking west, we get to Weavers Cottage near Glasgow.

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Weaver’s Cottage

 

This 18th Century cottage recreates the living and working conditions of a typical handloom weaver. Here you can explore the authentic Kilbarchan looms and spinning wheels, as well as see the traditional tartan that they could have made. In the 18th Century there were over 800 handlooms in the village but by the 1930’s just 20 remained. Today the process is rather soothing with its rhythmic motion and we love the fact that there is plenty of colour around the house with all the different fabrics to be found.

Finally, a bit further north near Dundee is another mill, Barry Mill.

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Barry Mill

 

The big highlight of Barry Mill is the fact that it is still working. And for a place where the youngest bit of equipment is from roughly 1910, this is quite impressive. Barry Mill is one of very few remaining water mills in Scotland that are operational and can actually be viewed by the public. We like it because of its peaceful setting that is broken by the splash of the water wheel as it turns. If you go try and visit on a Sunday when demonstrations of the milling typically take place.

Hopefully, one or more of these properties take your fancy and it’s nice to discover a little about the variety of the properties that the National Trust for Scotland helps care for and protect. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and remember if you’re a member of the Trust then you can visit all these places for free.

All the best, K & D

 

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