Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 50200 14429
350200, 614429


Circa 1852. 3-storey former mill (now converted for cultural and commercial use) with long, splayed rectangular plan following bend in road, carried across Slitrig Water on single segmental arch. Random whinstone rubble with droved yellow sandstone ashlar dressings. Eaves course. Long and short quoins. Tabbed window margins with projecting cills. 10 bays to W (Kirkstile), 6 bays to E (Tower Knowe); 4 bays to S (Silver Street). M-profile piended roof.

30-pane glazing in timber frames (see NOTES). Grey slate roof with metal ridges.

INTERIOR: Plain cast-iron columns supporting timber ceiling beams. Water wheel and boiler frontage in basement (see NOTES).

Statement of Special Interest

A good, mid-19th-century former textile mill retaining its original waterwheel, traditional in style but advanced in construction, being supported on a single arch spanning the Slitrig Water at the heart of Hawick.

Tower Mill is the only mill in Scotland to be built on a bridge, a characteristic found at tide mills and on large river systems in mainland Europe but not elsewhere in the UK. It is also notable for having the largest surviving waterwheel in a textile mill in southern Scotland. This massive wheel was the first in Hawick to generate electricity in 1900.

The mill was built by Messrs William Elliot & Sons, hosiery manufacturers, who had been granted permission to pull down an earlier mill on the same site. It is believed that much of the stone from the demolished building was reused in the construction of the new one. William Elliot & Sons remained the mill's owners until 1950.

The building was comprehensively refurbished in 2006-7 by Gray, Marshall & Associates to house an entertainment and commercial centre. The structural elements of the interior were retained, with the exception of the area now housing a theatre, where the cast-iron columns and ceiling had to be removed. The windows were originally fixed panes, but for the purposes of the refurbishment - known as the 'Heart of Hawick' project - a new tilting form was introduced, following the 30-pane glazing pattern of the original. Glass additions have been made to the west and east elevations, but the building otherwise retains its original profile. The waterwheel is visible from above through a glass floor, and the frontage of a Manchester boiler installed in 1876 to supplement the power provided by the wheel has also been retained in the basement. The ground floor and basement of the mill have opened out to incorporate those of No 2 Tower Knowe (listed separately).

Textile manufacturing plays a key role in the history of Hawick. Conveniently situated for water-powered milling at the meeting of the River Teviot and the Slitrig Water, Hawick became one of the richest burghs per capita in Scotland as a result of the industry. During the 19th century, water power was superseded by steam power, and tall chimneys came to dominate the town's skyline. Tower Mill did not escape this trend: the power supplied by the enormous waterwheel was supplemented by a boiler, the frontage of which remains in the basement. This boiler was originally connected to a circular brick chimney at the south-east corner or the building, but the chimney was removed in the 1960s. Its base is visible from the exterior, and a part of its internal structure, now supported on new joists, can be seen from the staircase installed within that corner during the Heart of Hawick project. List description revised following resurvey (2008).



Shown on Ordnance Survey Town Plan (1857). David Roemmele, The Industrial Archaeology of the Tweed and Hosiery Textile Mills of Hawick (1997), unpublished BA (Hons) thesis, pp57-8. Kitty Cruft, John Dunbar and Richard Fawcett, The Buildings of Scotland: Borders (2006), p368. Information courtesy of Scottish Borders Council (2007) and Ian Landles, former President of the Hawick Archaeological Society (2008).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 27/05/2019 10:43