Tartan Weaving Mill & Exhibition

Edinburgh Old Town Weaving Centre
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Edinburgh Old Town Weaving Centre

Originally the Castlehill Reservoir, a large enclosed cistern constructed in 1849 to supply water to the New Town, the Tartan Weaving Mill and Exhibition is a commercial tourist attraction located at the top of the Royal Mile next to the Castle. The building, which once contained a two million-gallon (9.1 million litre) reservoir, consists of a low ashlar frontage and was constructed on the site of an even earlier reservoir, built in 1674 bringing water through lead-lined wooden pipes from Comiston to the Old Town. Excavations during the construction of the later reservoir revealed Roman burials.

The reservoir was finally taken out of service in 1992 and the following year a competition was held to elicit proposals for alternative uses for the building. A prime location for a tourist attraction, it has been converted into a working exhibition of tartan design and weaving. The attraction includes a working water-wheel, giant warp mill, a highland dress exhibition and, the inevitable, tourist retailing.

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