J and H Brown and Co., Woollen Manufacturers, Selkirk

Scope and Content

Business diary of Henry Brown, 1828-1829; publicity card for the Selfacting Feeder.

Administrative / Biographical History

J & H Brown & Co was founded by brothers James and Henry Brown. The business was originally based in Galashiels but in 1835 the firm built Ettrick Mill and relocated to Selkirk. Henry Brown invented the Selfacting Feeder for wool spinning and in 1851 the firm was awarded a medal at the first Great Exhibition and also showed fabric in other exhibitions in Europe, America and India. He built Galahill house in Galashiels, which he left to his nephew William Brown on his death.

James Brown died in 1852 and his sons returned to Galashiels in 1859 to found the Brown Brothers business at Buckholm Mill. Henry Brown continued with the business until his death in 1860, and his sons carried on until 1883. Henry's nephew James Brown took over, but the business failed in 1888 and the mill was auctioned in 1889. It was bought by a combine trading as the Scotch Tweed Manufacturing Society Ltd., and was in turn bought in 1901 by the Scottish Wholesale Co-Operative Society. In 1949 the spinning mill was rented to D K Colledge of Yarrow Mill and he bought it in 1960. The weaving part of the business was run by the SWCS until 1962. Yarrow Mill finally closed in 1980.


Chronologically by classification scheme.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Scottish College of Textiles in 1967.

Other Finding Aids

A printed list is available in the search room.

Archivist's Note

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.


Not expected.

Related Material

Brown Brothers (HWUA BB) and T Craig-Brown and Co.(HWUA CB).


Little Guide to Selkirk Mills. Scottish Borders Museum Service, 2002.

Personal Names

Corporate Names