Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 33106 36909
333106, 636909


1788, with additions and alterations circa 1840, later 19th century and earlier 20th century. 4-storey and attic, 8-bay original mill range with 2-bay piended roofed early 19th century section to E and wing to N forming T-plan. Mid 19th century tall 3-storey (same height), 6-bay block extending to W. Painted render over whinstone rubble. Small regularly spaced windows with 4-pane metal casements circa 1930. 20th century entrance block linked by first floor walkway. Mill lade running under E end housing 2 turbines.

BOILERHOUSE AND CHIMNEY: circa 1858-80. Pitched roof whinstone rubble boilerhouse to N of main mill with 2 infilled arches to W gable and 2 timber piended roof ridge ventilators. 3-bay whinstone rubble binding and seeming sheds to N extended in brick, (known as 'White City'). Tall circular plan brick chimney to E gable of boilerhouse. Small piended-roof whinstone rubble range adjoining oil tank, possibly tenter house.

WEAVING SHEDS: circa 1858-64. 6-bay range of sawtooth gabled, pitched roofed weaving sheds on internal cast-iron columns to W of main mill with glazed roofs to N pitches. 2-bays extending to N circa 1920. Further wider steel-framed 6-bays extending to S circa 1930 with courtyard behind.

Flat-roofed office and entrance block c1930 to SE linked to main mill by walkway and to weaving sheds to the rear. Various brick and rendered ancillary buildings around mill site.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: low stepped whinstone walls with sandstone copes to front (E) of site with curved gateway. Delicate tall wrought-iron gates and railings. Tall rubble gate piers to NE of site.

Statement of Special Interest

Caerlee Mill was the first water powered textile mill in the Borders and highly significant as it marks the beginning of the industrialisation and the development of the textile towns in the area. The mill demonstrates the evolution of the industry over centuries, including water turbine technology. It is now (2007) the oldest continually operating textile mill in Scotland.

The mill was built by Alexander Brodie in 1788. Brodie was born in 1733 at the Rigs of Traquair where he became apprentice blacksmith before going to London in 1751. He subsequently moved to Shropshire where he spent most of his career and became successful in the iron industry. He returned to Innerleithen to set up a woollen mill aged 55. Construction began in 1788 and the mill cost £3000 to build including all machinery. The building of the mill marks a significant turning point in the prosperity and development of the town which steadily grew from this point on.

A philanthropist, it is said that Brodie made no profit from the mill, his main concern being to create employment in the area, indeed when living in London he sent money to Peebles for the care of needy children. Brodie died in 1811 and the business was rented to other manufacturers; in 1834 Messers Gow were resident and the first to make tartan shawls from local wool. The mill was sold by Brodie's heirs in 1841 to Robert Gill. It is marked as Gill's Mill on Dobson's map of 1849. It was Gill who added the mechanisation of steam power which expanded the business and by 1864 he was importing wool from Australia. In 1876 the weaving sheds were extended using concrete construction, a relatively early use of this material.

The mill's success led to a great increase in the local population from 463 in 1841 to 2,313 by 1881; there was a related increase in housing and services, with new banks, hotels, public halls being built as the town developed. In 1886 the mill was sold to J J & H Ballantynes of Walkerburn and in 1919 it amalgamated with Waverley Mills and March Street Mills of Peebles. The company is now trading as Ballantyne Cashmere UK (2007).

The original mill building was 8-bays between stacks (now lost). In the early 19th century the 2-bays under a piended roof to the east and perpendicular N wing were added. The E section straddles the ashlar lined lade and contains two 19th century turbines (one by Laidlaw Glasgow, the other by Gilkes of Kendal) the Laidlaw turbine is an early example of its type. The W wing is thought to date to Gill's ownership c1839-56, and although only 3 storeys aligns in height with the original 4-storey range (internal floors to original range replaced c. 1960 to from 3 floors).

Caerlee Mill expanded naturally as the business developed through the 19th and early 20th century. The various stages of development and subsequent changes in mechanism are all well represented by the buildings as they stand today (2007) from the original main mill to the later outlying weaving sheds.

List description revised 2008.



John Thomson, Atlas of Scotland, 1832. 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1855). Thomas Dobson, Reminiscences of Innerleithen and Traquair, (1896). W Chambers, A History of Peebleshire (1864) p371. Groome's Gazetteer Vol IV (1883) p290. J W Buchan, History of Peebleshire (Vol III) (1925) p373. J Dent and R McDonald, Farm and Factory: Revolution in the Borders (2001) p 5. J Anderson, At the Sign of the Cleikum, (1996) p108. Robb and Stevenson, Glimpses of Old Innerleithen and Traquair (1989) p24. Kitty Cruft, Buildings of Scotland, Borders (2006), p402. Alex Young, Old Innerleithen Walkerburn and Traquair, (2004) p3.

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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.

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