The Woolmill was part of a small croft and the tenants were always both farmers and textile manufacturers. This link with the land was only broken in the 1970s when the mill was sold to Hugh Jones. Hugh kept the Woolmill going single handedly for over 30 years, although for most of that time he only wove on one of the Victorian looms, commissioning the other processes elsewhere. Luckily Hugh understood the historic importance of the place and its machinery and made sensitive repairs. The buildings were, however, in a desperate state, risking the precious machinery they more or less covered.
In 2000, the Knockando Woolmill Trust was formed with the aims of restoring the buildings and machinery, training a new generation of craftsmen so that manufacturing could continue well into the future and opening the site to the public for education and enjoyment. The Trust spent 10 hard years developing restoration plan and raising the £3.55 million needed to repair and restore buildings and the machinery. Most of the works were completed in June 2012 when we opened our doors to the public.
On the 9th of October 2012, Knockando Woolmill was officially opened by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay. Over 120 guests, Trustees, volunteers and staff were on hand to help celebrate in the Autumn sunshine.
The Duke had visited the Woolmill prior to restoration and seemed delighted with the finished article. He met a variety of people involved with restoration project including funders and supporters, the design team, the main contractor, project and Woolmill staff and volunteers.
He was especially interested in the Old Shop, the Design Studio where all our cloth is designed, the cafe, where he discussed the merits of different quiches, and, of course, the machinery. The refurbished carding set and spinning mule ran beautifully. Before leaving, the Duke then 'unveiled' the commemorative paddle by starting the waterwheel going.