Borders Textiles Tours

The Textile Collection in the Scottish Borders is a rich history of Scottish textile heritage. Collections emerged originally as business records and pattern books from Scottish Borders mills as the local industry began to contract in the 1950s. The collection includes 200 year old shepherd’s plaids, the inspiration for the black and white checked tweed designs, and tweed fabric swatches from the 1830s to 1990s.

The Collection also holds a large amount of tartan including some old and rare designs, Paisley shawls, furnishing fabric from Dundee firm Donald Brothers 1897-1973, costume, international textiles, knitting and dress patterns, Bernat Klein and the archives of the Scottish Woollen Technical College dating back to 1883. The Collection is available for research by appointment. Some works occasionally go on display and we are able to include these opportunities as a part of our tours.

Samples in the collection include a fantastic 19th century sample book for Tweed designed and produced in the Scottish Borders by J & A Ogilvie 1834. Fabric samples in the volume include samples of Tweed with the original black and white checks, inspired by traditional shepherd’s plaids, and a range of brightly coloured and patterned fabrics for use in waistcoats and jacket linings. A pattern book for tartan produced in the Borders dating to the 1830s from Edinburgh merchant J & A Ogilvy is now within the George Harrison collection.

There are samples of Bernat Kleins colourful tweed work in the 1950s-60s, in 1963 his mohair tweed was used by Chanel and a beautiful Paisley shawl with the iconic Paisley pattern. The History of textiles in the Scottish Borders is of great importance to us at Serenity Scotland, it as a part of our heritage and we offer tours tailored to your interests in Art & Crafts and Traditional Skills.

A lovely article about the growing demand for Borders textiles can be found here.