Gala Mill was built by Robert Sanderson in 1826, specialising in the production of cloth for men’s wear. From 1868, Robert’s three sons, William Alexander, Robert Junior and James, were running the mill. The business passed to the children of a sister, Margaret, who had married Henry Hayward – John Sanderson Hayward was born 1871, Robert Sanderson Hayward and Isa Margaret Hayward in 1872. The two boys were brought to Galashiels and received most of their education in the town.
Both Sandersons and Haywards served as Deacons of the Manufacturers’ Corporation at various times. John S. Hayward was Provost of Galashiels 1926-1934. In 1915, on the death of Robert Sanderson, the family established the Sanderson Hospital in his memory.
In 1927, James Sanderson bequeathed an estate for the establishment of the Lucy Sanderson Cottage Homes (his wife’s name) to provide homes for retired local mill workers, creating one of Scotland’s earliest sheltered housing complexes.
Originally consisting of 8 pairs of semi-detached cottages plus a matron’s quarters, a hall and a small sick bay, the cottages built around a village green were designed by architects Mears and Carus-Wilson.
The central tower at the Sanderson Cottages includes carvings from eminent Scottish sculptors Bone and Pilkington. In the main hall, W.R. Lawson and M. Caird were commissioned to create a unique mural which was renovated in 2021, depicting the processes of textile manufacture from raw wool to finished cloth.
Architect, Sir Frank Mears, had a particular interest in rural issues including the development of model designs for rural houses. He was also involved with the design of what became Edinburgh Zoo and whilst serving with the Royal Flying Corps in WWI invented the quick release parachute.
The Lucy Sanderson Cottage Homes legacy was enhanced in 1949, when Isa M. Hayward, a distinguished botanist, left the residue of her estate to provide additional cottage homes which were built by converting hospital premises with the sick bay divided into one-room flats and known as the Isa Hayward cottages.
In 1946, Robert S. Hayward gifted 35 acres of ground at Netherdale to the town for recreational purposes. The R.S. Hayward Charitable Trust was established on his retiral, the income of which was to be applied to a wide range of charitable purposes.
The Hayward Sanderson Trust came into being in 2012, following the re-organisation of the Lucy Sanderson Cottage Homes Charity (formed in 1933) and The R.S. Hayward Trust (formed in 1954).