History in Structure

Boiler House And Chimney, Caerlee Mills, Damside, Innerleithen

A Category B Listed Building in Innerleithen, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.6214 / 55°37'17"N

Longitude: -3.0635 / 3°3'48"W

OS Eastings: 333123

OS Northings: 636937

OS Grid: NT331369

Mapcode National: GBR 731F.KQ

Mapcode Global: WH6V6.XYCY

Plus Code: 9C7RJWCP+HJ

Entry Name: Boiler House And Chimney, Caerlee Mills, Damside, Innerleithen

Listing Name: Damside, Ballantyne Cashmere Uk, Caerlee Mill Including Boilerhouse, Chimney, Weaving Sheds, Ancillary Buildings, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 23 February 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 379400

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB34968

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200379400

Location: Innerleithen

County: Scottish Borders

Town: Innerleithen

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale East

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

Tagged with: Chimney Architectural structure

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1788, with additions and alterations circa 1840, later 19th century and earlier 20th century. 4-storey and attic, 8-bay original mill range with 2-bay piended roofed early 19th century section to E and wing to N forming T-plan. Mid 19th century tall 3-storey (same height), 6-bay block extending to W. Painted render over whinstone rubble. Small regularly spaced windows with 4-pane metal casements circa 1930. 20th century entrance block linked by first floor walkway. Mill lade running under E end housing 2 turbines.

BOILERHOUSE AND CHIMNEY: circa 1858-80. Pitched roof whinstone rubble boilerhouse to N of main mill with 2 infilled arches to W gable and 2 timber piended roof ridge ventilators. 3-bay whinstone rubble binding and seeming sheds to N extended in brick, (known as 'White City'). Tall circular plan brick chimney to E gable of boilerhouse. Small piended-roof whinstone rubble range adjoining oil tank, possibly tenter house.

WEAVING SHEDS: circa 1858-64. 6-bay range of sawtooth gabled, pitched roofed weaving sheds on internal cast-iron columns to W of main mill with glazed roofs to N pitches. 2-bays extending to N circa 1920. Further wider steel-framed 6-bays extending to S circa 1930 with courtyard behind.

Flat-roofed office and entrance block c1930 to SE linked to main mill by walkway and to weaving sheds to the rear. Various brick and rendered ancillary buildings around mill site.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: low stepped whinstone walls with sandstone copes to front (E) of site with curved gateway. Delicate tall wrought-iron gates and railings. Tall rubble gate piers to NE of site.

Statement of Interest

Caerlee Mill was the first water powered textile mill in the Borders and highly significant as it marks the beginning of the industrialisation and the development of the textile towns in the area. The mill demonstrates the evolution of the industry over centuries, including water turbine technology. It is now (2007) the oldest continually operating textile mill in Scotland.

The mill was built by Alexander Brodie in 1788. Brodie was born in 1733 at the Rigs of Traquair where he became apprentice blacksmith before going to London in 1751. He subsequently moved to Shropshire where he spent most of his career and became successful in the iron industry. He returned to Innerleithen to set up a woollen mill aged 55. Construction began in 1788 and the mill cost £3000 to build including all machinery. The building of the mill marks a significant turning point in the prosperity and development of the town which steadily grew from this point on.

A philanthropist, it is said that Brodie made no profit from the mill, his main concern being to create employment in the area, indeed when living in London he sent money to Peebles for the care of needy children. Brodie died in 1811 and the business was rented to other manufacturers; in 1834 Messers Gow were resident and the first to make tartan shawls from local wool. The mill was sold by Brodie's heirs in 1841 to Robert Gill. It is marked as Gill's Mill on Dobson's map of 1849. It was Gill who added the mechanisation of steam power which expanded the business and by 1864 he was importing wool from Australia. In 1876 the weaving sheds were extended using concrete construction, a relatively early use of this material.

The mill's success led to a great increase in the local population from 463 in 1841 to 2,313 by 1881; there was a related increase in housing and services, with new banks, hotels, public halls being built as the town developed. In 1886 the mill was sold to J J & H Ballantynes of Walkerburn and in 1919 it amalgamated with Waverley Mills and March Street Mills of Peebles. The company is now trading as Ballantyne Cashmere UK (2007).

The original mill building was 8-bays between stacks (now lost). In the early 19th century the 2-bays under a piended roof to the east and perpendicular N wing were added. The E section straddles the ashlar lined lade and contains two 19th century turbines (one by Laidlaw Glasgow, the other by Gilkes of Kendal) the Laidlaw turbine is an early example of its type. The W wing is thought to date to Gill's ownership c1839-56, and although only 3 storeys aligns in height with the original 4-storey range (internal floors to original range replaced c. 1960 to from 3 floors).

Caerlee Mill expanded naturally as the business developed through the 19th and early 20th century. The various stages of development and subsequent changes in mechanism are all well represented by the buildings as they stand today (2007) from the original main mill to the later outlying weaving sheds.

List description revised 2008.

External Links

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