My visit to Hawick the home of British tweed
I visited Hawick to learn more about the place that our tweeds come from. The Teviot river runs through the town before joining the Tweed. You can see the appeal of being close to such a wide river for the mills. Though today it's not all good news: there's a huge amount of construction going on along the river banks to build up defences as buildings have been washed away in recent floods.
It was in 1830 that tweed started being called tweed, and it all came about because of a misunderstanding...
One of the Hawick mills was in correspondence with a London merchant who mis-read the word tweel (meaning twill) as 'tweed'. The merchant loved the material, London was going mad for it and the Hawick producer saw an opportunity to stand out from the crowd with something new. And so tweed was born!
There's a really good visitors centre with the history of the textile industry in Hawick and I was relieved and reassured to read about the early workforce: the mill workers had really strong family ties to the area so they didn't want to leave, but instead bought this sense of family into the mill with sports clubs, choirs, amateur dramatic societies all very well supported and competitive between mills. You can imagine how smart each mill's sports kit was given they worked in textiles!