Stanley Mills is located just north of Perth in Scotland. The mills were constructed in 1785 to harness the fast flowing Tay to mill cotton. Richard Arkwright was one of the seven founders.
The mills operated until 1989, though they were occasionally closed, including during the Cotton Famine of 1861 to 1865, occasioned by the American Civil War. After closure the buildings rapidly deteriorated.
At the end of 1995 the site was acquired by Scottish National Heritage and restoration began. The site is now open to visitors. Many of the original buildings remain. The East Mill and the Mid Mill have been converted to private housing. The oldest mill, the Bell Mill, has been converted to an exhibition centre.
The photograph below shows the East Mill and part of the Mid Mill.
The Tay is Scotland's fastest flowing river and there was never any shortage of power for the mll machinery. Even so, nobody appears to have made much money from Stanley. One factor may have been transport costs. Until the railway came to Stanley in 1948 raw cotton had to be carted form Port Glasgow in a ten day round trip.
In the photograph above you can see the mill buildings that remain and the line of the lade that brought water from the Tay to the mill wheels. The channel on the left uses Tay water to power a recently restored hydro electric station.
The Bell Mill above, with mixed stone and brick construction.
The photograph below shows the Mid Mill facing out onto the Tay.
In this print you can see the relationship between Stanley village and the mill site.
Stanley and New Lanark
- New Lanark is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stanley is not.
In modern parlance, the dominant paradigm before Owen's experiments was extreme Theory X. Owen showed that Theory Y could work as well. Owen's experiments at New Lanark were important for all of us; though, human nature being what it is, many still find Theory X more attractive.
Stanley also has some very well done hands on displays of technology. The device in the photograph above allows visitors to see the different ways in which power can be extracted from rushing water.
Scotland can get very cold and having central heating might seem like an employment benefit. In fact, cotton can only be worked at 70 Fahrenheit.
Water from the Tay first flowed though a 244 meter tunnel and then through the lade shown below.
Stanley Mills are well worth visiting if you are interested in industrial history. Stanley village can safely be skipped. There is free parking at the mill site and a £5 fee to enter the Bell Mill.