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Crofthead Mill

A substantial but derelict cotton mill located on the course of the Levern Water at Neilston (East Renfrewshire), Crofthead Mill was built in whitewashed brick 1881 for R.F. & J. Alexander to replace and greatly enlarge the original mill buildings of 1792 which had been destroyed by fire. There are two principal buildings; the five-storey West Mill and six-storey No. 1 mill, the latter was modelled on similar mills in Oldham (Lancashire) and designed by architects from that town.

A mill had been established here by Stewart, Orr and Co. and was originally water-powered. On the death of James Orr in 1859, the mill was purchased by R.F. & J. Alexander of Glasgow. Steam engines were installed to provide additional power in the 1870s and a steam-turbine in 1928. The mill was converted to electrical operation in 1953. A collection of lades and small reservoirs can still be seen on the hillside to the S. Once the spinning of cotton ceased, the mill went on to produce high-quality sewing thread, which received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria in 1890.

A pirn-mill - making wooden bobbins - was built to the south c.1900 but demolished 1968. At one time there was a mill school, where 'half-timers' received an education. These were children aged between 9 and 12 years who were expected to work a shift in the mill from 6am until 2pm before attending the school.

The mill is now B-listed.


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