18 July 2023
Weavers from an 18th-century Renfrewshire cottage might be surprised to discover that their lives and work are attracting the interest of the Scottish Parliament, as well as visitors from all over the world.
Weaver’s Cottage, in Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire, cared for by the National Trust for Scotland, this year celebrates its 300th anniversary, and was recently the subject of a parliamentary motion in the Scottish Parliament. The motion ‘celebrates that this cherished piece of local history and Kilbarchan is preserved, and hopes that Weaver’s Cottage will continue to be visited and learned about for years to come’.
Weaver’s Cottage is just one of 100+ special places cared for and shared by the conservation charity, ranging from castles to gardens to National Nature Reserves such as Glencoe and Staffa. Though modest in scale compared to some of these places, Weaver’s Cottage tells important and unique stories about textile production, and its part in Scotland’s economic, social and cultural history.
Home to hundreds of weavers
Ana Sanchez de la Vega, the National Trust for Scotland’s Visitor Services Manager for Weaver’s Cottage, explains: ‘The displays at the cottage transport our visitors back to a time when hand-woven textiles were the lifeblood of many communities. At one point in the 19th century, the village of Kilbarchan was home to over 800 weavers, living and working at looms in cottages such as this. At Weaver’s Cottage – where weavers still make tartan on a 200-year-old handloom – we offer a window into those times, helping people relate to the lives and stories of that community, whose tartans and textiles have stood the test of time for hundreds of years. It’s thanks to the support of our National Trust of Scotland members, donors, volunteers, visitors and other supporters that we are able to conserve and share this place, its stories and textiles for different generations today.’
Weaver’s Cottage remained in use as a home until 1940, and has been in in the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 1957.
As Kilbarchan and others celebrate the 300th anniversary of the cottage, the conservation charity has added new garden and video interpretation, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the history and significance of this special place, in support of its engagement objective to provide access to, and enjoyment of, heritage for everyone. The Trust has also loaned textiles from the Cottage’s collections, including tartan samples and a quilt, to the Tartan exhibition at V&A Dundee.
Visit Weaver's Cottage
Weaver’s Cottage, in Kilbarchan, 12 miles south west of Glasgow, is open
Thursdays to Sundays until 31 October, from 10.00 to 17.00 (last entry 16.00).
For more information on the cottage, planning a visit, and how to get there, click here.
Weaver's Cottage, The Cross, Kilbarchan PA10 2JG
image courtesy Billy McCrone, Wikimedia Commons 2.0