E Y Johnston, Textile Manufacturer, Galashiels

Scope and Content

Records of Production; Pattern and range books 1962-1976; Staff records 1923-1982; Marketing and Public Relations Records 1960-1982; Photographs 1960s; Fabric and costume 1960s; Relations with External Bodies 1972-1982.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1939, Ebeneezer Younger Johnston [cousin to the Artist, Ann Redpath] started up business in the Tweed Mill, Galashiels. By 1940, he occupied the whole of the weaving sheds at Tweed Mill, and in 1946, became a limited liability company. In 1948, he purchased the building and machinery of Tweed Mill. The company prospered, and E.Y. Johnston became known as one of the leading designers in the Tweed industry, specialising in ladies novelty cloth and sports jackets cloth for the North American markets.

In 1963, as a result of arson, the buildings at Tweed Mill were completely destroyed. E.Y. Johnston Company Ltd was amalgamated with Hunter & Co. and moved to Abbotsford Mill in 1964. Hunters also included Keddie Gordon & Co. In time, all these companies were bought over by Grampian Holdings. In 1969, E.Y. Johnston moved again, to Galashiels Mill, having acquired the companies which operated there.

By the mid 1960s E.Y. Johnston was already producing fabric bought by couture makers such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Mary Quant and Jean Muir. He produced small quantities which suited their kind of business. However, he also provided fabric for ready to wear British ranges such as Jaegar, Aquascutum and Windsmoor as well as Marks and Spencers. He sold extensively to the United States, including iconic American designer Bonnie Cashin. His fabric was used for a coat worn by Maggie Smith in the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

He was also active in textile education, and was the Chair of the Board of Governors for the Scottish College of Textile until in mid 1970s.


Chronologically by classification scheme

Access Information

By appointment at the Scottish Borders Campus, Heriot-Watt University, Netherdale, Galashiels.

Acquisition Information

The Collection was gifted to the Scottish College of Textiles by the Johnston family on his death. Additional archives were donated as Accession 2003.01.

Other Finding Aids

Paper finding aid is available in the search room

Archivist's Note

Revised description compiled by Helen Taylor, Archivist, Heriot-Watt University Archive Records Management and Museum Service

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.

Appraisal Information

Prior to deposit, the records were weeded by staff at the Scottish College of Textiles. Personal notes and design inspiration notebooks were destroyed and pattern books were weeded by 50%. The Collection was subsequently re-assessed and weeded by Archivists in November 2001.

Custodial History

Records were listed as part of the Scottish Higher Education Council/Non-Formula Funding project for Specialised Research Collections in the Humanities.



Related Material

E Y Johnston Textile Collection (HWUA EYJ2), Scottish College of Textiles (HWUA SCT), Costume collection (HWUA COS) and Paisley Shawl collection (HWUA PS)