weaver's cottage

the survival of a once thriving industry in renfrewshire

2D section drawing showing the north-facing side of the cruck frame within the converted attic living area Weaver’s Cottage is located in the village of Kilbarchan in central Renfrewshire, and is unique in its history of having a thriving handloom industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, reaching a peak at 900 looms in 1840, all located within loomshops within or adjacent to houses within the village. The cottage has been in the possession of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) since the 1950s when the last handloom weaver, William Meikle, passed away. It then underwent an immediate programme of renovation and today is a thriving museum in the heart of Kilbarchan.

In 2018, AOC was engaged by NTS to undertake a measured survey of the cottage, which included a full exterior and interior 3D laser scanning survey, as well as a detailed photographic and architectural context record of the building with the aim of establishing the history and development of the site. From this we were able to create annotated 2D exterior and interior elevations (right), detailed floor plans and sections. Weaver’s Cottage, located in a prominent position adjacent to the market place in the village, was originally built in 1723 by the Bryden family, and housed two, maybe three families, in rooms either side of an east/west stone-flagged passage. Together with the main living areas, there is a large loomshop in the lower ground floor level which contains the renovated loom of William Meikle. A later 19th century extension and upper floor living space were added in the early – mid 19th century by William Christie, who retained the original cruck frame (shown below, centre) in front of the bed boxes for his children.

The survey has allowed NTS to develop further understanding of the structural development and chronology of the building and offer a wider interpretation of the development and cultural significance of the site in its context. This can then feed into any future conservation decisions on the building’s future. 

Above, L-R: a rectified image of the east elevation of Weaver’s Cottage facing the Cross derived from the pointcloud data; the entrance to the loomshop is to the left in the lower ground floor level; A detail photograph of the north-facing side of the cruck frame located in the south side of the cottage in the attic space; written recording the interior of the kirk passageway (photo courtesy of Derek Alexander).

For more information on Weaver’s Cottage, please visit the website or contact Derek Alexander, Archaeologist for the National Trust for Scotland, who is leading the survey project.