Tom Stillie

Scope and Content

Research on the history of tartan and district checks; fabric samples of tartan, district checks, baize, trouserings and vestings. These include the Commonwealth Check for the 1970 Commonwealth Games designed by Tom Stillie and used for the Scottish female team uniform, and fabric samples from Lochcarron and Gardiners of Selkirk.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tom Stillie was born in 1915 in Alva and started his career in textiles as an assistant designer at Wilson Brothers, working with E Y Johnston. He became a student of the Scottish Woollen Technical College studying textile design in the 1930s. He proved to be an talented student and received the City and Guilds Bronze medals for Weaving and Yarn manufacture in 1938, the City and Guilds silver medal for finishing in 1939 and the College Silver Medal in 1940 as well as the College Diploma. He enlisted in the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders in 1940 and was subsequently commissioned into the Black Watch. However, he was seriously wounded towards the end of the war and the injuries he received affected him for the rest of his life.

In 1945 he was appointed lecturer in textile design at the Scottish Woollen Technical College. He subsequently received training in work study and received the Insignia Award of the City and Guilds Institute for his thesis in tartan. He had a keen interest in athletics, although his war wounds prevented him from competing, and was President of the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association. He was also an Elder of St Pauls Church in Galashiels and was active in organizing the Braw Lads Gatherings. He showed an active interest in researching the history of tartan and tweed design and collecting fabric manufactured locally. He died on 23rd March 1978 while still in post as Senior Lecturer in Design.


Arranged alphabetically by type of fabric.

Access Information

By appointment at the Scottish Borders Campus.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the Textile Collection in 1997.

Other Finding Aids

Item level descriptions on CALM database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Includes fabric samples.

Archivist's Note

Description created by Helen Taylor, Archivist, 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

Collected or created by Tom Stillie while in employment at the Scottish College of Textiles.


Accruals not expected.

Related Material

HWUA GS Gardiners of Selkirk.

Location of Originals

The collection is original.