History of the Mill

The Mill was built in 1788 as a cotton spinning mill by James Birtwhistle from Yorkshire and was the second mill to be built on this site. The water wheel on the gable end was used to drive the machinery to spin the cotton.

By 1800, because of increasing competition from steam driven mills, the cotton industry in Gatehouse declined and by 1850 the mills were out of use. In 1859 they were bought by the Helme brothers from Dalbeattie and the upper mill was used to make wooden bobbins for the textile industry while this mill was used as a store and bark mill for the processing of oak for the leather tanning industry which was thriving in Gatehouse at the time.

Following various changes in ownership and fortune both mills finally ceased trading in the 1930s. In the 1980s the mill was restored by Dumfries and Galloway Council and opened to the public in 1991.

The Birthwhistles of Craven and Galloway.
by Tony Stephens

Tony Stephens, a local historian from Yorkshire has been researching the Birtwhistle family who started the cotton spinning industry in Gatehouse.  He has written an article on the Birtwhistles for the North Craven Heritage Trust Journal which is available by clicking here.