Person NameWilson of Bannockburn; 1759-1924; Tartan manufacturers
EpithetTartan manufacturers
ActivityThe firm of William Wilson and Sons was founded by William Wilson. He was born in 1727 and accepted into the Incorporation of Chapmen of Bannockburn in 1759. When the proscription of Highland dress was lifted in 1782 William Wilson saw an opportunity to streamline the manufacture of tartan, hitherto a cottage industry, to meet the demand of the new Highland regiments – over sixty were raised between 1739 and 1800, and tartan was of course a mandatory part of their uniform. By 1815 they were the principal supplier of tartan to the army, but they retained their interest in ‘civilian’ tartan, too: as a centrally-sited large manufacturer they were ideally placed to take advantage of the high fashion for tartan promoted by Queen Victoria and the Balmoral set. Pattern books show tartans with fanciful names like ‘Flowers of Scotland’ or simply with numbers, and the families of soldiers travelling with a regiment would usually have a tartan of their own, some version, often, of the regiment’s own pattern. William’s sons John and Alexander followed him into the business of tartan weaving, but the firm divided in two in the 1820s leaving William Wilson and Sons concentrating on tartan and other cloth while J.W. Wilson manufactured carpets. The firm eventually closed in 1924.References are M.1961.20, M.1961.21, M.1961.129, M.1961.130, M.1961.135, M.1983.4, M.1995.15.
Corporate NameWilson of Bannockburn
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