Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd

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Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd

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The Wilsons were soap, candle and wax manufacturers in Glasgow. Two brothers, William Primrose and James Wilson decided to discontinue this business and turn their attention to textiles, choosing to set up their looms in the Hillfoots, Clackmannanshire, an area that, because of its ideal topography, already contained many spinning and weaving mills. William, under the partnership of Wilson and Anderson, had already manufactured shawls in the Boll Mill in Clackmannanshire from 1866 until 1872. Wilson Bros (initially W & J Wilson) was founded and Dalmore works built in Alva in 1874. The production of shawls was superseded by tweeds for men's wear. Wilson's took a leading part in the founding of the ladies costume tailor-made trade and specialised in Ladies' Woollen Novelty fabrics. This was later supplemented by the manufacture of rugs in mohair and wool, as well as the Wil-Bro-Cel blankets. In 1907 Wilson Bros took over the patterns and yarns of the Bannockburn Tweeds. Wilson Bros became a limited company in 1930, and in 1955 its assets were transferred to Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd. The original mill was added to in 1888 and partly rebuilt in 1895 after a hurricane had blown over the main building. There were further additions in 1912 and 1916, and a partial rebuilding after a fire destroyed almost ninety percent of the factory in 1941. Extensions were added in 1950 and 1955. In 1933 Wilson Brothers created a subsidiary company to sell to retail stores, makers-up etc. under the title Craigleith Fabrics. In 1961 Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd formed a joint company called Glentana Mills Ltd, with a Glasgow based scarf making firm, McBean and Bishop Ltd, a venture which resulted in the loss of Dalmore Works in 1964. This necessitated the renting of various other mills, such as Greenfield Works. Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd stopped trading under that name in March, 1967, when they were taken over by Pringles of Inverness.


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