Alexander Johnston established
in 1797 in the same location
as it stands today ~ Newmill, Elgin in Morayshire. Initially the mill
was concerned with linen, flax, oatmeal and tobacco. Innovative and
forward thinking, Johnston gradually introduced textiles and phased out
all other products. Johnstons pioneered tweed for camouflage eventually
creating what have come to be known as Scottish Estate Tweeds.
Then came the testing of exotic fibres from
around the world - cashmere, guanaco, vicuna, camel, mink and yak for
fabric and throws. In the early years, the company struggled its way
through many failed ventures but a dogged determination paid off. (Scots
know a little about such things.) Today the firm bearing his name,
Johnstons, is known throughout the world for their luxurious treatment
of both fibre and colour and nowhere is this more apparent than in this
collection of throws.
The oldest continuously used national flag,
since 832 AD; there is nothing like the azure and white of the St.
Andrew's Cross against a Scottish sky to make you fully appreciate when
the sun comes out. The design inspiration for
St. Andrew’s Cross, adapted
came from the desire to create a lap rug that was evocative of Scotland
bound together as a nation. A consensus of sources established 32
political districts (counties) in Scotland. To ensure the scale and
independence of each Saltire, fine blue and white lines were inserted
whilst the selvage edges are composed of the ubiquitous checkerboards
found on Scotland's police caps. The design team at Johnstons of Elgin
deserves a large measure of credit for their patience because our
collaborative effort resulted in the creation of Thistle & Broom's
exclusive St. Andrew's Cross, adapted.
My heart sinks, actually
it feels as though it’s being ripped from chest, every time that I am
forced to take leave of Scotland. On one such occasion, sitting in the
Edinburgh airport it was the morning after the football match between
Wales and Scotland, sadly Wales won 4-0. And while their faces showed
only remnants of the blue and white Saltires so proudly painted upon
their visages the night before with their kilts swaying their bravado
was certainly intact.
For some odd reason
these returning warriors reminded me of the five
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
in November of 2002. In extending a compliment about their dress blue
uniforms resplendent with chain mail epaulets gleaming in the winter
sunshine brought forth this reply... "Aye lass 'tis nay the uniform bu'
ta man in it." Perhaps Brian, but at moments such as these how could any
woman fail to fall under the spell of such a country? One of the most
incredibly moving places I have ever visited is the
Scottish National War Memorial.
Designed by Robert Lorimer shortly after the First World War and located
within walls of Edinburgh Castle, the architecture can make you weep.
Within the Hall of Honour, bound in red leather books, the name of each
of Scotland's fallen heroes. Set upon the bare rock tip, which makes up
the foundation of the fortress, rests a steel casket and contained
within are the Rolls of Honour of the regiments. The Archangel St.
Michael carved of Scottish Oak hangs above the casket recalling
Righteousness over Evil. If you are lucky, a gentleman named Jim Crew of
Historic Scotland will explain each detail with proper weight given to
the sacrifices and achievements of the Scottish people for several
hundred years. It will be an hour you will cherish forever.
For wearing your
heart on your sleeve and honouring men like Monty, Ross, Dean, Brian and
Kevin, as well as the bravery of all those who have gone before. It
seems fitting that the sale of each St. Andrew's Cross benefit
The Scottish National War
Memorial located at
Edinburgh Castle and to ensure the continuation of the Gaelic language,
Fčisean nan Gŕidheal.
mill in Elgin, stands on the site where the company was first founded in
1797. It remains one of the few vertical mills still operating in
Scotland and is the only British mill to transform cashmere from raw
fibre to finished garment. Throughout its long history, Johnstons have
specialised in working with cashmere and luxury fibres to create
exciting new collections of knitwear, accessories, home furnishings and
Using the purest cashmere from China and Mongolia and finest lambswool
from Australia, our products are dyed, spun, woven and finished at Elgin
and at our knitting plant in Hawick. Located in the far north of
Scotland, our Newmill site in Elgin is one of the most beautiful in the
country. Situated on the banks of the River Lossie, we use the same soft
highland water in our manufacturing and finishing processes as that used
to distil the finest malt whiskies in the world.
Our Visitor Centre at Newmill offers mill tours and the opportunity to
browse through our elegant shop situated in the original mill buildings.
You can also enjoy a light meal or some home made Scottish baking in our
comfortable coffee shop.