R & A Sanderson & Co. Ltd., Woollen Textile Manufacturers, Galashiels

Scope and Content

Records of Production; Records of Pattern Design; Sales records; Staff records.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gala Mill was built by Robert Sanderson in 1826. In 1832 he entered into partnership with his brother, Alexander, as Woollen Manufacturers, 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 business. James married, but produced no children, so the business passed to the children of a sister, Margaret, who had married Henry Hayward, Manufacturer in Trowbridge; John Sanderson Hayward, born 1871, Robert Sanderson Hayward, born 1872, and Isa Margaret Hayward, born in 1872. The two boys were brought to Galashiels, received most of their education there, and around 1890, both were at work in the Mill.

In 1894, William Alexander Sanderson retired and Thomas Hewat, Mill Manager, was taken into partnership. The other directors at this time were Robert and James Sanderson and John S. Hayward. John's brother, Robert S. Hayward, was made a partner shortly after. Following the deaths of Robert and James Sanderson in 1915 and 1927 respectively, the business was carried on by the Hayward brothers. John Hayward died in 1943, and on Robert's retirement in 1953, he sold his interest to a private company, R & A Sanderson and Company Limited, whose first Directors were Robert Kemp, Chartered Accountant, Glasgow and J.D. Wheelans, Solicitor, Galashiels. W.E. Bryce was co-opted and appointed managing director.

Owing to adverse trading conditions, the company went into voluntary liquidation in November 1957, closing down the production of 14 carding sets and 96 looms.

The Sandersons and Haywards played a major part in the town of Galashiels. All were Deacons of the Manufacturers' Corporation at various times and John S. Hayward was Provost of Galashiels 1926-1934. On the death of Robert Sanderson in 1915, the family established the Sanderson Hospital in his memory.

In 1927, James Sanderson bequeathed an estate and bequest for the establishment of the Lucy Sanderson Cottage Homes. This 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. 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 for Galashiels people and organisations. On his death in 1963, he bequeathed the whole of the residue of his estate to this Trust.


Records are arranged chronologically by type following classification scheme.

Access Information

By appointment. Closure periods may apply to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing personal information. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.

Other Finding Aids

Printed list plus item level computerised list available at Heriot-Watt University

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents. Permission to publish material from the Archive must be sought in advance from the University Archivist. Responsibility for obtaining copyright clearance rests with the applicant.

Custodial History

Robert S. Hayward gave the Collection to the Scottish Woollen Technical College in session 1961/62, as recorded in the Scottish Woollen Technical College Journal for that year. The records were first listed as part of the Archive by the Business Archives Council (Scotland) Surveying Officer in 1988 while in the High Mill. Following the merger of the Scottish College of Textiles with Heriot-Watt University in October 1998, responsibility for the collection was transferred to Heriot-Watt University Archive, Records Management and Museum Service. In September 2000, the Archive moved to the Main Building at the Scottish Borders Campus, Galashiels.


Not expected.

Related Material

The Peter Anderson Ltd. Collection (GB 0582 HWUA PA) is of a similar company dating from 1874 - 1946. Some Pattern Notebooks of RAS also refer to Keddie Gordon, whose records also appear as part of the Blenkhorn Richardson Collection (GB 0582 HWUA BR) in the Archive. In addition, there are some records in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh


  • Galashiels; A Modern History Galashiels History Committee and Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council, 1983.