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Gala Mill, Huddersfield Street

A Category B Listed Building in Galashiels, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.6118 / 55°36'42"N

Longitude: -2.7978 / 2°47'52"W

OS Eastings: 349840

OS Northings: 635641

OS Grid: NT498356

Mapcode National: GBR 83XK.25

Mapcode Global: WH7WN.Z6VS

Plus Code: 9C7VJ662+PV

Entry Name: Gala Mill, Huddersfield Street

Listing Name: Huddersfield Street, Gala Mill

Listing Date: 14 November 2006

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399225

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50696

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Galashiels

County: Scottish Borders

Town: Galashiels

Electoral Ward: Galashiels and District

Traditional County: Selkirkshire

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Earlier 19th century to early 20th century. Substantial textile manufacturing complex on the outskirts to the SE of Galashiels town containing a collection of mill-related buildings. Predominantly whin and sandstone rubble with red sandstone ashlar dressings.

FORMER HAND LOOM MILL: long rectangular-plan block consisting of 2-storey, 3 and 4 bays to NW and 3-storey 7-bay section to SE. Rubble to NW, some ashlar dressings to SE. Pitched slate roof. Irregular fenestration.

WEAVING SHEDS: Large area of single-storey weaving sheds to east of site and along Gala Water. Rubble with ashlar dressings and skews. Slate roofs.

ENGINE HOUSE, BOILER HOUSE AND STACK: double-height piend-roofed engine house. Rubble with ashlar dressings. Round-arched openings. Double-height boiler house. Tall round brick stack. Double-height drying room, pitch-roofed with timber ventilators.

MILL HOUSE: along SW edge of site. 2-storey, 7-bay rectangular-plan pitched slated roof.

SOUTHEAST BLOCK: long single-storey block against SW boundary of site. Rubble with red sandstone ashlar dressings. Double-pitch roof.

LADE AND WHEEL PIT: section of former mill lade, sluice and wheel pit. Rubble side walls.

Statement of Interest

Gala Mill, despite the loss of is centrepiece, is the most intact of the mill complexes surviving in Galashiels, with a wide variety of buildings, including an early hand loom mill, relating to the original 1826 construction.

Gala mill (also known locally as Wakefield Mill) was initially founded in 1826 by Robert Sanderson, and was one of the earliest large-scale wool manufacturing businesses in the town. At this time, it is likely that the consisted only of a relatively small water-powered mill. An original hand loom shop and weaving shed are within the complex, believed to be the earliest in the Borders.

On the OS map of c1856 there appear to be three principal buildings: the main water-powered mill straddling the lade, a short range to the west and a large range, consisting of the surviving tall hand-loom mill to the SE and what is probably an area of single-storey sheds. By the late 19th century the substantial warehouse and office block at the entrance and the vast area of single-storey sheds as existing today had been built. The first weaving sheds were built in the 1850s, followed by more sheds in 1882. There have been substantial changes to the site throughout the 20th century, the most notable being the demolition of the main mill. At present (2006) the mill is home to a number of textile-related businesses.

The importance of the wool manufacturing trade to Galashiels can not be overestimated, as this industry was the sole reason for its expansion and prosperity in the 19th century. Wool manufacture has largely subsided, but the remaining buildings are important monuments to the industry.

Although there were water-powered fulling mills in Galashiels by the 16th century, the modern Textile Industry began in the 18th century. At this time, however, Galashiels had a relatively minor part in the Borders textile industry, although the establishment of the manufacturers corporation in 1777 was to play an important role. Through the 19th century the industry expanded rapidly. The arrival of the railway in 1849 allowed for easy access to raw materials and coal, which facilitated the increased use of steam power by the 1860s. The late 1860s and early 1870s were the peak of prosperity for Galashiels, which benefited greatly from a number of foreign conflicts. By this time there were over 20 large-scale producers of cloth, as well as a number of allied industries. However, Galashiels had an over-reliance on foreign trade, which led to the slow decline of the industry through the late 19th and early 20th century.

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