Short History of the Dorward Family, Galashiels

Waukrigg Mill was acquired by James Dorward and his brother John Cochrane Dorward in 1890. The mill was known as J and JC Dorward and was initially a spinning and weaving mill. John married Elizabeth Brown and it was one of her grandfathers, William Paterson, who built part of Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott. He received an invitation to Sir Walter Scott’s funeral accompanied by a lock of his hair. The invitation and lock of hair are displayed at Abbotsford. 

The founders were succeeded by Adam Paterson Dorward and brother Norman, born at Whinfield and following Norman’s death, brother William, joined Adam. The mill ceased spinning and weaving and started manufacturing high class gent’s garments, Overcoats, Inverness Capes, Sports jackets and the ubiquitous Gala Forest bonnet. 

Another brother, John, became a missionary in Manchuria and he and his wife, Jose, were interned by the Japanese and eventually ended up in Nagasaki where they both survived the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. The reverend John Dorward died at the ripe old age of 99. 

Adam Dorward married Isabella Fairgrieve , whose father was also a mill owner. Adam and Ella lived in Ardenleigh on Windyknowe Road where their four sons, John Cochrane Dorward, b1913, Thomas Fairgrieve Dorward b1916, Adam Paterson Dorward b1922 and Arthur Fairgrieve Dorward b1925 were born. 

All the boys were schooled at Galashiels Academy, St Mary’s Melrose, and Sedbergh. John went on to study Mathematics at Oxford University and Arthur studied languages at Cambridge University. 

During the war John served in the War Office, Pat was a pilot Instructor in Canada, Arthur trained as a Navigator in the Air Force and was stationed in Singapore and Hong Kong at the end of the war. Sadly, Tom, who was a pilot, was killed just weeks before he was to be married to Dorothy Little of Crotchetknowe. 

After the war, all three surviving brothers were involved in running the mill. Following the death of Adam Dorward in 1953, John became managing director. Duncan, Pat’s elder son, joined the mill as Company Secretary and head of finance before John’s retirement in 1976 due to ill health, Pat becoming managing director. 

John married Isobel Gunn and had four children, Richard, James, Elizabeth and Frances. 

Pat married Jean Ovens and had two sons, Duncan and Bruce, Bruce being Braw Lad in1970. Duncan was the only member of that generation to enter the mill. 

Arthur married Christine McQueen and had a daughter Lesley and a son Campbell. 

John was a founder member of the Galashiels Rotary Club and was a keen hockey player and golfer. He was Captain of Torwoodlee Golf Club 

Pat served on the Town Council for a number of years and was also a member of The Hospital Board. Pat also played golf, hockey, squash and tennis. 

Arthur was an all-round sportsman, playing hockey, squash, tennis, golf and cricket but his main love was rugby. He captained and played for Cambridge University, the Barbarians, Gala, the South of Scotland and was capped 15 times for Scotland. He played scrum half as did his brother Tom who was first capped in 1938 and had 5 caps. Arthur also captained Torwoodlee Golf Club and was honoured to be asked to be captain again in1995 to celebrate the club’s centenary, the Lady Captain being Margot Watt. 

All three brothers were Deacons of the Manufacturer’s Corporation. 

Sadly, due to lack of demand for quality men’s clothing and ever-increasing cheap imports, plus currency fluctuations in the luxury American market, the mill was struggling to survive It was taken over by Ballantynes of Innerleithen in 1976 and ceased trading in 1979. 

As the only surviving member of the Dorward family in Galashiels, it is a privilege to have had the opportunity to record some of the history of the family. 

Thank you to Christine G. Dorward for writing this piece. 


Dorward Family

5a Bank St, Galashiels, TD1 1EN

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