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Minister officially opens Stanley Mills

6 May 2008

Linda Fabiani MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, will officially open Stanley Mills, Historic Scotland’s newest visitor attraction and education centre, set on the banks of the River Tay. The official opening will take place on Tuesday 6 May where the Minister will meet staff from the site and key people involved in the Stanley Mills Bell Mill project, before having a special tour.

The £4.7 million project to breathe new life into Sir Richard Arkwright’s original cotton mill began in 1995. Since then the Bell Mill and Mid Mill have been conserved and converted into a new visitor attraction and education centre that examine the history of the people, products and power of the mills. This exciting new development features displays, interactives, exhibits and video footage that unravel an important part of Scotland’s industrial heritage.

During her visit the Minister will have the opportunity to engage with the hands-on interactive elements, examine some of the machinery formerly used at the mills and enjoy the specially-commissioned poetry from Edinburgh-based poet Aonghas MacNeacail, which tells the story of 18th-century farm workers who travelled down through the Perthshire glens during the Industrial Revolution

Linda Fabiani said:

“I would like to congratulate everyone who has been involved in the Stanley Mills project – this is a fantastic example of the importance of our cultural heritage, with a community that was brought to life by the mills: it will be interesting to see how the mills develop as part of the local community once more. With over 6,000 visitors since opening at Easter, Stanley Mills is proving to be a great attraction in the Perthshire area for visitors from both home and abroad.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has supported the redevelopment of the Stanley Mills complex, including the conservation and adaptation of two later mill buildings into housing, with grants totalling over £10 million.  

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

“The redevelopment of Stanley Mills is a superb example of how the future of these remarkable old buildings can be secured by bringing them back into viable use. It is an important fragment of our industrial and rural heritage which can now be shared with visitors of all ages - today’s and tomorrow’s children will be able to touch the past while learning how it shaped the future. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to have been involved in bringing this project to fruition.”

On Sunday 18 May there is a special event taking place at Stanley Mills. A Festival of the River will feature activities and events for the whole family, and admission to the attraction will be free on this day.

Notes for editors

  • Stanley Mills is situated seven miles north of Perth, off the A9.
  • The former water mill complex harnessed the power of the River Tay for cotton spinning. The first mill was built in 1786 and the last commercial operations ended in 1989.
  • In 1995 Stanley Mills was purchased by Historic Scotland with financial assistance from the HLF. The buildings are category A listed.
  • The Bell Mill and part of Mid Mill now form a new visitor attraction which tells the story of Stanley Mills and provides an education centre and a venue for community use.  This opened to the public at Easter 2008 and over 6,000 people have already enjoyed a visit. The HLF provided £2.1 million of the £4.7 million cost of this latest phase.
  • The project to create a visitor centre has involved keeping and emphasising many of the original architectural features. The main contractors in this project were Mansell.
  • Historic Scotland has worked with a number of local groups and former workers to gather information and conserve items associated with the mills. Memories of the workers have also been collected in an oral history project.
  • The visitor centre includes an education area which has been designed to allow schools and educational groups to carry out a wide variety of study projects linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.  
  • Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:
  • Historic Scotland’s mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.
  • The HLF enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation’s heritage for everyone to enjoy.
  • Further HLF information - please contact Shiona Mackay on 01786 870638  or 07779 142 890 ( or Sam Goody on 020 7591 6036 (  Website

For further information

Laura Adamson
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959 or 07769 630 763