Selkirk’s new Scottish Centre of Textiles may get off the ground today, if a Heritage Lottery Fund bid is successful.
The plan, developed over the last year, is to build a national centre for preserving and explaining the heritage of the Scottish textile industry on the Riverside Estate on Dunsdale Road – potentially bringing £10-£15million of investment and tourism.
A report on the SCOT project, presented to Selkirk Community Council by the team’s chairman, textile designer Hamish Carruthers MBE, said: “All the pieces of the jigsaw are in place. The centre would be best situated in Selkirk.”
It adds: “It is timely to proceed with the initiative now, before all the equipment, skills, documentation and artefacts are lost.”
The centre, themed ‘from fibre to fabric’, would include a vast textile archive on the unused fourth floor of Ettrick Riverside, a manufacturing unit and workspaces for knitwear designers, a museum looking to the past and future of machinery and garments, a gallery, shop and cafe.
Heritage Lottery are deciding whether to fund a feasibility study into the project, but Scottish Enterprise, Ettrick Riverside’s owners, have already pledged £10,000, while Heriot-Watt University, which will tie up with the centre, is giving £5,000 towards start-up costs. Selkirk Mill Andrew Elliot Ltd has offered to relocate its historic machinery.
The group hopes to begin work in 2016, capitalising on Abbotsford and the Borders Railway.