Former tweed mill operator goes into administration

A Peterhead company that formerly operated a Harris Tweed mill in Stornoway has called in the administrators.

Smiths of Peterhead, which had a mill in Stornoway for over 50 years, were forced into administration after after failing to reach agreement with a major creditor.

The 190 year-old family owned textile company will continue to trade while a purchaser is sought. Nine workers have been made redundant. Smiths was one of the country’s leading manufacturers of woollen fabrics and knitwear yarns and supplied fashion houses throughout Europe including such brands as Gucci, Prada and Ralph Lauren.

A spokesman for the administrators, Begbies Traynor, said today (Wednesday) that there have been no more redundancies since February 10 when nine were made redundant out of a total of 49. He added that there have been sufficient offers of interest received for the business as a going concern to make them confident that a sale will be concluded soon.

Messrs Thomas Smith and Co (Stornoway) was set up by the Peterhead firm in the 1930s although prior to that the firm had been sending its own mill spun yarn to weavers in Lochs and taking the greasy tweeds back to Peterhead for finishing. Mr A P C Lawrence came to Stornoway as Managing Director of this mill.

In 1970 there was an amalgamation between S A Newall and Sons of Stornoway and Thomas Smith (Stornoway) Ltd ‘to enable both companies to minimise rising costs of production.’ They became part of Clansman Holdings which went into receivership in 1989.