12. High Mill

12. High Mill

Architectural Trail

High Mill B&w

Galashiels used to play a major part in the textiles industry and was home to many mills. To this day, the town has strong ties with the industry, being home to Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design.

The High Mill, built for Adam Cochrane and Brothers, is the best remaining example of a high mill in Galashiels. Originally, the mill complex was a lot larger and had a second high mill, weaving sheds, an engine house, chimney and associated offices on site.

The remaining High Mill was used to house spinning “mules” with open floors supported on cast-iron columns – the mill was planned around the size of the machines. This impressive building is 4-storeys high, houses 19 bays and features a projecting stair tower, all built in local whinstone with sandstone dressing. The stair tower used to have a castellated top (as seen in the illustration below).

It now houses the School of Textiles and Design, allowing students to use a wide range of industrial machinery and teaching them all the necessary skills related to textile design, print, weave and knit, as well as fashion design, fashion communication and much more.

The building is category B listed.

Stop 12 of 13

Key Information

Date built:


Look up at:

The quoins, or cornerstones, of the mill are “rusticated” – carved to look like natural rocks but with smooth joints.

Building open to the public:


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This location is accessible to anyone with mobility issues.
High Mill
Illustration by Lara Gueldner

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