Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd

Scope and Content

Miscellaneous partnership, company, property and insurance records 1882-1964; minutes 1930-1967; shareholding records 1930-1963; ledgers 1873-1953; annual accounts 1934-1966; wages records 1903-1966; costings 1951-1966; orders 1956-1966; stock 1932-1966; pattern books 1912-1955; miscellaneous historical material including publications relating to wool manufacture 1906-1986; photographs c1890-1967.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Wilsons were soap, candle and wax manufacturers in Glasgow. Two brothers, William Primrose and James Wilson decided to discontinue this business and turn their attention to textiles, choosing to set up their looms in the Hillfoots, Clackmannanshire, an area that, because of its ideal topography, already contained many spinning and weaving mills. William, under the partnership of Wilson and Anderson, had already manufactured shawls in the Boll Mill in Clackmannanshire from 1866 until 1872. Wilson Bros (initially W & J Wilson) was founded and Dalmore works built in Alva in 1874. The production of shawls was superseded by tweeds for men's wear. Wilson's took a leading part in the founding of the ladies costume tailor-made trade and specialised in Ladies' Woollen Novelty fabrics. This was later supplemented by the manufacture of rugs in mohair and wool, as well as the Wil-Bro-Cel blankets. In 1907 Wilson Bros took over the patterns and yarns of the Bannockburn Tweeds. Wilson Bros became a limited company in 1930, and in 1955 its assets were transferred to Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd.

The original mill was added to in 1888 and partly rebuilt in 1895 after a hurricane had blown over the main building. There were further additions in 1912 and 1916, and a partial rebuilding after a fire destroyed almost ninety percent of the factory in 1941. Extensions were added in 1950 and 1955.

In 1933 Wilson Brothers created a subsidiary company to sell to retail stores, makers-up etc. under the title Craigleith Fabrics. In 1961 Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd formed a joint company called Glentana Mills Ltd, with a Glasgow based scarf making firm, McBean and Bishop Ltd, a venture which resulted in the loss of Dalmore Works in 1964. This necessitated the renting of various other mills, such as Greenfield Works. Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd stopped trading under that name in March, 1967, when they were taken over by Pringles of Inverness.


Records are arranged within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The records were deposited by Mr Wilson in 1989 (AccM/265).


Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, April 2002.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.


None expected.

Related Material

MS 82 Wilson Family Papers

Additional Information

The material is original.