village remained an agricultural community until the end of the 18th
century when the stocking industry was introduced. It prospered and by
1837 it is recorded that most of the inhabitants are stocking makers and
others engaged in rural affairs. In 1844 there were 87 stocking frames
machines were set-up in the cottages at the windows in order to get the
best light. Many cottages around the green were built or rebuilt with
the flourishing of the new industry. Some of these cottages, or stocking
shops, are still standing part of Leyden's Cottage, Rosebank, and the
rear of the Fox and Hounds Inn and the rear of 5 Main Street. There was
also a stocking shop on the site of Swiss Villa in the Cannon Gate. The
Old Mill at West End, now converted into a private house, was once a
three storey stocking mill. There was also a two storey mill, no
longer standing, behind Sunny Bank in Leyden's Road.
owners of these businesses used to sell their wares all over the North
of England and South of Scotland, from Newcastle to Glasgow and
Edinburgh. The first hosiery manufacturer in Denholm is thought to have
been Thomas Colledge. His apprentice, Andrew Scott, set up his own
business and we are told that his supplies were never able to meet the
demand of his Glasgow market. When he advised his customers there that
he intended to call on them they would travel up to 20 miles out of the
city to meet him and bid against each other for his goods. He lived in
Hazeldean at the East End.
firm of Dickson and Beattie was set-up in 1793. Their scouring house was
the cottage where John Leyden was born. But in 1803 the family moved to
Hawick where it was to become Dickson and Laing. From now on the Denholm
enterprises were dwarfed by the large Hawick factories. Denholm remained
a village and Hawick soon became a large manufacturing town.
from George Hardy, who at one time employed 20 hands, most of the 19th
century concerns were very small, many of them one-man businesses.
Hosiers and stocking makers recorded in the 1835 Deed of Excambion are
James and Andrew Scott, William Barry, Robert Turnbull, Thomas Scott,
George Hardy, Robert Nichol, William Leyden, James Scott, John Turnbull,
Robert Scott and George Beattie. Also known from other sources are
Thomas Oliver, Robert Forsyth, Thomas Riddell, James little, who lived
in the house where the entrance to the school playground is now, William
Little in a cottage where the wall outside Denholm House is now, William
Percival Scott in Leyden's Road and William Robson who built Rose Bank
Cottage and stocking shop.
census of 1861 records 32 stocking makers in Denholm. Latterly they were
almost entirely dependent on the Hawick manufacturers for work. A cart
used to come from Hawick once a week bringing out the yarn and taking
back the knitted garments. It stopped at Town Head, at the West end of
the village. Eventually even these weekly visits were discontinued and
the stocking makers took their work into Hawick each weekend themselves,
often walking there and back and getting their ‘count,’
or wages, on the Saturday. The very last of the village hosiers were Willie
Cook of Denholm and John
Stafford of Hawick, who died in 1909 and 1910.