Mills & Mill-workers

Every community needed the services of water-powered meal mills to grind oats and barley. Some rivers supported several different kinds of mills, including those that powered saw-mills. From the earliest days, folk who worked on the land were closely connected with local mills.

Textile workers

Textile mills in Perthshire and Fife employed thousands of workers for every stage of the jute, linen, cotton and silk industries. Several workers tell what it was like to work in a mill, and recall the communities which depended on these industries. 

  • 05Mills

Project Field Recordings



  • Stanley Mill
  • Fieldworker: Margaret Bennett (MB)
  • Audio Format: Edirol digital mic
  • Transcribed: Michelle Iona Melville
  • Publication: N/A
  • Date: Monday, 31 August 2015

Track  7.15 min

  • Kate Cairnes: Gaffer of wiring and weaving machines
  • Made sure she was up for work every day
  • Ina Gordon, worked without pay for eight years after retirement
  • Ina’s house and work at the mill
  • Margaret Reichie – married to a German man who was here during the war Girls wore rollers on a Friday
  • One of the bosses Mr Arkwright
  • Clothes – wore overall
  • Started work when fourteen – left school on the Friday and started six ’clock Monday morning
  • Started in training room for eight weeks learning wiring
  • Then went into big wiring and weaving room to work with Gladys, room was noisy
  • Learnt weaving from Mary Collie
  • Weavers paid more than wirers
  • Learned wiring and then weaving so she could move between weaving and wiring as required
  • Started six in the morning, official start seven but many went in at six to make up piece work
  • Tea break at 9 a.m.
  • Didn’t have dust as worked on the clean side
  • Thirsty work, drank lots of water, Ina came round with jugs of water
  • Couldn’t leave loom to go for toilet break