Recognition for Harris Tweed stalwart

​Ian Angus Mackenzie, chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, has been presented with its top award, the Silver Medal, by the Worshipful Company of Weavers in recognition of his contribution to the textile industry, and specifically for his work on revitalising the Harris Tweed industry.
Alderman Michael Mainelli with Ian AngusAlderman Michael Mainelli with Ian Angus
Alderman Michael Mainelli with Ian Angus

The award was presented by the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Michael Mainelli, at an event at the Saddler’s Hall in London on Tuesday.

Ian Angus has dedicated his career to the Harris Tweed industry over the past 50 years, initially as a home weaver, then as chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority and latterly through Harris Tweed Hebrides where he became chief executive on its inception in 2007.

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Harris Tweed Hebrides was founded in 2007 by Ian Mackenzie, the late Ian Taylor and Brian Wilson following a period of significant decline and uncertainty within the industry, re-opening the disused Shawbost mill. The company currently employs over 70 staff and provides work to more than 100 weavers.

Ian Angus said: “Before we started, every Harris Tweed story had been negative for years. After Harris Tweed Hebrides was formed, every story was positive”.

Acknowledging this prestigious award, he paid tribute to others who helped build the company and from across the local community: “I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of our island industry and all those who have worked with me over these past 50 years”.

The Worshipful Company of Weavers’ Silver Medal is awarded in recognition of an individual’s contribution to the UK weaving industry in the fields of technology, management, education or the craft of weaving, with Ian Angus qualifying under several headings.

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Previous recipients include Harris Tweed weaver Donald John Mackay of Luskentyre in 2013; Peter Ackroyd who is chief operating officer at the Campaign for Wool, and John Griffith who designed and built the Harris Tweed industry’s double width handweaving loom. This was a pivotal project in the history of the industry with which Ian Angus was closely associated throughout the 1990s.

Ian Angus transitioned from chief executive to chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides in 2022 when Brian Wilson retired on the company reaching its 15th birthday.

His 50 years involvement in the industry were marked at a dinner last November when he pointed out that he is probably the only person who worked in the industry’s three arms – weaver, regulator and producer.

He was also, prior to his HTA role, secretary of the weavers’ branch of the Transport and General Workers Union where he was involved in a crucial campaign in the 1970s to fend off plans to locate weavers in industrial units with power-driven looms, which would have destroyed the unique credentials of Harris Tweed.

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The Worshipful Company of Weavers is one of London’s 112 Livery Companies and is said to be the oldest with records dating back to the year 1130. Today the Weavers’ Company continues to support the textiles industry through educational training and the “promotion of excellence” while its charitable work is directed particularly towards the rehabilitation of offenders.