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12th March 2019, Hawick

Scottish knitter to open research and design centre

Johnstons of Elgin is a luxury Scottish knitwear and accessories manufacturer. © Johnstons of Elgin

Johnstons of Elgin is a luxury Scottish knitwear and accessories manufacturer. © Johnstons of Elgin

A Scottish knitwear manufacturer with a history reaching back over two centuries has unveiled expansion plans to create a research and design centre at its knitwear manufacturing site in the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders region, according to the Southern Reporter.

Johnstons of Elgin gained planning approval last year to relocate the yarn store at its Mansfield Road site to a site alongside Mansfield Park, and that has freed up floorspace next to the production area at the woollen mill. Now further plans have been submitted to Scottish Borders Council to create the research and design centre there. The new complex will accommodate designers, programmers and knitting line-writers within an open-office environment.

A report by Galashiels-based Aitken Turnbull Architects says that natural light is an important element of the proposed design to create a workable and functional working environment. The research and design centre will benefit from sections of glazing across the entire south facing elevation, according to the report.

“The company’s success and growth is resulting in the need for more space in the production process, and associated works,” the report said.

In 2012 Johnstons invested £1 million on a new visitor centre at the Hawick site. The development includes a visitor centre with museum, coffee shop and retail space.

Founded in 1797 by Alexander Johnston, Johnstons of Elgin is the second oldest family business in Scotland. The company has been manufacturing in Hawick since the 1980s and is one of the largest employers in the Borders, with nearly 1000 staff at its mills in Hawick and Elgin in Moray.

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