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6 Jul 2023

Why we love Weaver’s Cottage

Why we love Weaver’s Cottage


Four voices: Ana Sanchez-De la Vega; Ash Airey; Susanne McCormick; Abigail Watson

My name is Ana Sanchez-De la Vega. I am the Visitor Services Manager for the National Trust for Scotland, the Glasgow cluster. My job here is to look after this beautiful site.
Weaver's Cottage is an absolute gem that we look after in Kilbarchan, just outside of Paisley.
It is a 300-year-old property and it's filled with treasures and textiles, and an amazing history of weaving, but as well the community that used to live in Kilbarchan and that still lives in Kilbarchan.
It's a really good place to feel inspired about history.
The thing that I love the most about Weaver's Cottage is the lovely team that is here. They will absolutely inspire you; they just make history so inspiring. They're just one of the best teams -- I guarantee you'll have an amazing time when you visit!

My name's Ash and I work for the National Trust for Scotland at Weaver's Cottage.
I love Weaver's Cottage because of the community that surrounds it. They are part of Scotland's heritage; they're part of a bit of lost heritage that we no longer think about when we think about Scotland, specifically in the 19th century.
I love it because people come here all the time and they go: 'Wow, this reminds me of my grandma's house', or 'my nanny had that' or 'my auntie had that'. It brings people back to their childhoods a lot of the time too.
I particularly like the attic -- I think the attic space is really lovely. It gives you a sense of what the family were doing on an evening.
The cottage down here in this room -- the kitchen -- it's kind of more working and everyday life, but upstairs is your private life that the family would have been enjoying together. Sitting together and talking and writing poetry and singing songs -- it gives you an aspect of what the 1800s were like.
The garden is a traditional weaver's garden; it's quite long. It means that they would have been very self-sufficient -- they would have used every single plant in there. But they would have also planted stuff specifically for dyeing purposes, so woad and madder, weld. They would have given them all different types of colours that they would have dyed the fabrics with.
And then they would have also kept their urine and used it in the process of waulking the weave. That means that you're adding that fixture into it and keeping the dye going.
Thanks to the Incorporation of Bonnetmakers & Dyers, we have some informative panels in our garden so you can find out more information about the dye plants.

Hi. I'm Susanne McCormick. I'm a Visitor Services Assistant with the National Trust for Scotland at Weaver's Cottage in Kilbarchan, which is the best place in the world to work.
The dye plants in the garden, I've brought in myself. They are my babies, as everyone knows here!
We're trying to bring in organic dyes such as madder and weld and woad and indigo. I'm growing quite a lot of seeds at home, just to try and establish more of a dye garden here,
because that's a huge part of what Weaver's Cottage is about, not just the weaving.
I love it here because it's the best place on Earth. It's a weaver's cottage and I love everything to do with weave.
I love the garden; I like the people I work beside; and it's just a calm and peaceful environment to work in.

My name's Abigail. I'm one of the Visitor Services Assistants at the Weaver's Cottage for the National Trust for Scotland.
I had been here once when I was a lot younger and my only memory of it is they had wee table-top looms set up and I refused to get off it! My dad had said I could have a go and I just remember him standing there, going 'Hurry up and get on; you need to let someone else have a shot!' I was like, 'No, no; I'm gonna stay. I'm going to keep weaving'.
And then 10 years later, here I am back again and still can't get off the looms, so nothing's changed!
It's quite relaxing once you get into the rhythm of it; it's quite good. It's nice when it all goes smoothly ... until a thread breaks and then you think 'oh, now I need to stop'. But sitting there with a nice podcast in the background and you're good to go.
I love Weaver's Cottage because it's such a happy place to be.
Being down in the loom here, I do feel a bit of a connection to weavers. I think you can really feel the atmosphere and there's a lot of history of female weavers in this cottage as well.
The four Christie sisters all went on to become wool weavers. It's nice to bring them back into the spotlight again.
Kilbarchan had about 900 weavers at its height, so I would like to just try and imagine the sound of 900 of these looms going. It is a loud machine; it's not mechanised but it's still very loud. So, to have about 890/900 of these going in the village would be quite something to hear.
I think it'd be quite nice though, as well.

Our inspirational team share some of the many reasons why they love working at this atmospheric cottage near Paisley.

As you come into Weaver’s Cottage, it feels as though you have stepped back in time to the 1800s, when this little village was home to almost 900 looms.

Today, this is the last working handloom in Kilbarchan and it inspires us to share so many stories about this important part of Scotland’s industrial and social heritage. Every corner of each room brings a delightful discovery, and the flower-filled traditional weaver’s garden is the perfect place to rest awhile and soak in the atmosphere.

Plan your visit today

The importance of Willie Meikle as one of the last Scottish handloom weavers of his generation is recognised in the loan of some of his cloth to TARTAN, a new exhibition at V&A Dundee that runs until January 2024. In collaboration with V&A Dundee and the National Trust for Scotland, a Tartan Trail has been created that will take you across the country, exploring the connections that tartan has to place, history and rebellion. Find out more

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