MHG23895 - Bobbin Mill - Kinrara


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Type and Period (1)

  • BOBBIN MILL (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

This 'Bobbin Mill' is depicted as roofed on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey 6-inch map (Invernesshire (Mainland), 1875 (surveyed 1869), sheet LXXIII). A lade is also depicted suggesting water power. The presumably timber buildings no longer exist. Bobbins are spindles, with our without flanges and made of wood, plastic or metal onto which thread, yarn or wire can be wound. In this case, it would have been wooden bobbins that would have been made for local consumption. The lade may suggest that there may have been water-owered machinery on site.
Information from RCAHMS (MMD), 24 November 2014

Probable workers cottages are shown to the immediate southwest. The mill, and most of the cottages had been demolished by the time of the 2nd Edition.

Research into the bobbin mills of northern Scotland was undertaken by J Gilliatt as a volunteer researcher for the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Woodland Restoration project (2014-2018), which funded access to online resources including genealogical records and the newspaper archive. A total of 88 bobbin mills were identified. The South Kinrara Bobbin mill was established after the Inverness and Perth Junction railway line was opened in 1863, by brothers William and Andrew Taylor (originally from near Stonehaven), on land belonging to the Mackintosh of Mackintosh. The mill was certainly in operation by 1865, is shown on the 1st edition OS map as a wooden building (grey, rather than pink) and was powered by steam. Both William and Andrew Taylor sometimes identified themselves as timber merchants as well as bobbin manufacturers, and the mill is known to have undertaken general sawmilling work, as well as making bobbins. The mill used birch wood (and some alder) from local estates, including the nearby Rothiemurchus Estate, the Seafield Estate and the estate of Mackintosh and Mackintosh, as well as from further afield. This evidently had a significant, if temporary, impact on the local woodland, as recorded in a letter to an Inverness newspaper which stated that “there is scarcely a birch tree of any size left standing in Rothiemurchus, all having been sacrificed to the lords of Glasgow and Manchester, in the form of ‘bobbins’ for their cotton thread”. By the mid-1870s Andrew Taylor was no longer involved in the enterprise, and in the 1881 census William Taylor was recorded as a “bobbin maker employing 13 men and 2 boys”. He continued to operate the bobbin mill until 1891, but it was then closed down. Andrew Taylor was already operating a bobbin mill in Forres and William Taylor moved to Pitlochry, where he established a new bobbin mill. Two photograph s were taken of the South Kinrara bobbin mill in 1893, after it closed down. These give a clear impression of the somewhat ramshackle nature of the buildings, and can be seen on Canmore (see links below). Evidence for the existence of this bobbin mill is found in the valuation rolls (1865 to 1891), 1st edition OS map (1869), newspaper reports (1867, 1868, 1869, 1876 and 1881), census re cords (1871 to 1891), a business directory (1889), and estate archives. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NH 8762 0738 (40m by 40m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NH80NE
Civil Parish ALVIE

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