Early 19th century with later additions. One of the smallest surviving vertically integrated woollen mills with fully operating 19th century textile machinery in-situ. Originally built as a small, single storey and attic rectangular-plan waulk mill. The addition of the 2-storey carding and spinning mill in the mid 19th century created an L-plan. Both random rubble with corrugated-iron roofs. Further enlarged late 19th century with sizeable weather-boarded L-plan lean-to attached to re-entrant angle. Built to house further carding and spinning equipment, with large windows and corrugated-iron roof. Late 19th century rectangular-plan single storey outshot (weaving shed) to NE; concrete walls with brick repairs.
Waulk Mill: windows arranged to NE and NW, loft door set within gable to NW surmounted by gable apex stack. 2-storey Carding & Spinning Mill: small single storey lean-to formerly housing milling/washing machine, 1860s cast-iron overshot waterwheel to left of SW elevation; rubble-lined wheel pit, missing timber buckets and sole boards (2003), window to right. 1st floor window to W elevation and coped gable apex stack, weaving shed addition at ground floor. Both with timber boarded doors, various timber sash and case windows and timber multi-paned windows with central top-hung ventilation panes.
INTERIOR: continental (continuous) carding set by Platt Bros, 1872, linked by Scotch feed in ground floor and weather-boarded lean-to, teasel gig also to ground floor. Early 19th century card, hand-fed piecing tray, and bobbin winder in attic. Platt Bros condenser spinning self-acting mule to weather-boarded lean-to. Powered by line shafting. Re-entrant angle carried on timber posts.
WATERPOWER SYSTEM: weir to W of mill feeds lade from Knockando Burn (lade boggy overgrown wetland, 2003). Earthenware pipe (penstock) buried for 300 metres running E towards mill, pipe rises above ground-level near mill, carried on small embankment. Embankment ceases at stone buttressed wall whereupon pipe carried across path to N of mill by simple bridge onto rubble abutment turning sharply 90 degrees NE, terminating alongside SE wall of mill above waterwheel (pipe disused, 2003).
TENTER POSTS: located in field to W of mill, timber frame allowing drying cloth to be stretched out.
WINTER DRYING SHED: located to S of mill, square-plan single storey corrugated-iron shed, timber slatted louvre openings, mono-pitch corrugated-iron roof. Interior; fragmentary remains of circulating pipework at floor level linked to stove, remains of timber tenter frames for drying cloth.
SHOP: located to far SE of mill adjacent to Woolmill House (see separate listing). Small, square-plan single storey shop; timber boarded, pitched grey slate roof. 2-leaf timber 4-panelled door and 4-pane timber sash and case window to NE. Small window to SW at far right. Small corrugated-iron lean-to at rear formerly housing carbide gas plant. Interior; timber V-groove panelling to walls with timber stock shelves running from floor to ceiling, remnants of gas piping. Water pipe, tenter posts, drying shed and shop all disused, 2003.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with Knockando Woolmill House, Cottage and Byre. Knockando Mill is of international significance as it is one of a few surviving small scale woollen mills in the world. The mill with its fully working internal machinery, array of surviving associated ancillary buildings and beautiful setting presents a rare example of a surviving woollen mill which has evolved over the centuries directly responding to the ever-changing nature of the woollen process and its mechanisation during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The mill had a small croft associated with it of about 15 acres, the byres (see separate listing) stand to the SW of the mill. Throughout its history both mill and croft have supplemented each other providing a self-sufficient small scale rural settlement supplying the local community. Also associated with the mill complex are an early 19th century cottage and a late 19th century house, situated to the SE (see separate listings).
Wool production has been established at Knockando since the 18th century, parish records in 1784 refer to it as a 'Waulk Mill' run by the Grant family. The 1851 census mentions the Grant family at the 'Waulk Mill' however it also mentions a separate household with Simon Fraser (wool carder) at the head. It was at this time that the 2-storey wing (carding and spinning mill) was built to accommodate carding machinery. In the 1860s the mill passed into the hands of Alexander Smith who founded 'A Smith and Son', the company name of the mill till 1975. In 1870 the mill gained a spinning mule and around 1890, the internal walls of the L-shaped mill were removed and were replaced by timber columns and beams and an L-shaped lean-to was constructed to enable a full carding set. A spinning mule of 120 spindles and a teasel gig for blanket finishing were also acquired at this time. It is thought that the weaving shed was built in the late 19th century. This period proved the high point of the mill?s commercial success, not only was a new dwelling house (see separate listing) built in 1896 (reflecting the improved status of the millowners) but a shop supplying the mills wares was set up on site. It also from around this time that much of the other ancillary buildings date. It should be noted that there is a disused timber-boarded outside-lavatory with its original wall mounted cast-iron water cistern surviving and a timber-boarded coalstore/toolshed to the SW of the mill.
During the early 20th century Knockando traded locally in blankets, tweeds and knitting wools, however the mill began to struggle against cheaper competition. World War I proved lucrative for the mill as the accounts show a steady trade with the MOD for blankets. After this flourish at the start of the century trade rapidly declined. The waterwheel and lade system fell into disuse with the introduction of electricity in 1948. By the 1960s most district mills either grew into larger woollen manufacturers or ceased to be viable and disappeared. Knockando unusually did not expand and remained as a small district mill. The last family member Duncan Stewart, a nephew of the Smith family worked the croft and mill in the 1970s till he was nearly 80. In 1976 the mill was bought by the Knockando Mill Company who continue to manufacture blankets at the mill using the original machinery (2003). Crofting no longer takes place. There are 2 cast-iron cross beams spanning the Knockando Burn to the NW of the mill, they are the remnants of a small footbridge once bridging the burn.
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