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Craft your way to a special Christmas - with a little help from nature

30 November 2010

Add a more personal touch to your festive decorations this year; come along to the historic Stanley Mills complex near Perth on Saturday 11th December and learn how to make your own using natural materials.

At the mills’ Christmas Crafts event from 2pm to 4.30pm, Ranger Ian Lewis will be showing visitors how to gather craft materials from the local environment - including sprigs of holly, pine cones, branches and mosses - to make a variety of attractive festive wreaths, table centres and decorations.   

“I'll be demonstrating how simple and fun it is to make a range of eye-catching Christmas decorations sourced from Nature," Iain said. "They're cheap and environmentally-friendly - and it's incredibly satisfying to be creating something individual rather than just having shop-bought goods the same as everyone else. You can make decorations to give as presents too; hand-crafted and unique, they’ll really be appreciated."

The drop-in, family Christmas Crafts event on the 11th is included in the cost of admission to the outstanding Stanley Mills visitor attraction.

Monument Manager Kaye Finlay added: “We hosted a Christmas Crafts afternoon last year and it proved very popular, so we've decided to do something similar this year.  As there’s no extra charge for the event, it's a good opportunity to enjoy a whole day out at Stanley Mills – you can do some Christmas shopping too as we’ve special festive gift ranges on sale.

“And December is a really good month to visit.  With fewer tourists, it's easier to see all of our exhibits and interactive displays when it's quieter.  We’re open right through the winter too - apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and 2nd January - welcoming visitors between 9.30am to 4.30pm, with last entry at 3.30pm and lunchtime closure from 1pm to 2pm.”

Specially designed to bring the past of the 18th century cotton manufacturing complex to life, Stanley Mills provides both adults and children with a ‘hands on’ opportunity to have fun learning about the mills’ fascinating history.  The interactive visitor experience incorporates a blend of working machinery, artefacts, exhibits, audio visual displays and sound recordings to take visitors back to the days when Stanley Mills was the thriving heart of the community and a vital part of the local and national economy.


  • Stanley Mills, an internationally important complex of former water-powered cotton mills is located on the Tay, seven miles north of Perth off the A9. Postcode: PH1 4QE. Admission, summer and winter: Adult £5.00, Child £3.00, Concession £4.00.

  • The buildings date back to 1786 and operated for 200 years before closing in the 1980s. The Bell Mill at Stanley Mills was designed by Sir Richard Arkwright and is the best of his mills to survive anywhere. The buildings are Category A-listed and have been in the care of Historic Scotland since 1995.

  • A £4 million regeneration scheme to conserve the historic buildings on the site and provide a mixed-use development which is sensitive to its historic importance created an award-winning visitor experience with education and community facilities. The regeneration scheme not only secured the future of Stanley Mills but enabled it to once again play a vital role in the local and wider community. The project involved the restoration of the lades and conservation of the historic buildings, the conversion of The East Mill and most of Mid Mill into flats and townhouses by the Phoenix Trust and the transformation of The Bell and Mid Mill into an exciting visitor attraction.

  • A large education centre, located on two floors, offers facilities for school groups as well as the opportunity for use by the local community. A package of education activities has been developed to tie in with the National Curriculum for 9-14 year olds.  
  • The interactive visitor experience comprises a series of exhibits, displays, images and historical artefacts which tell the story of the Stanley Mills and explore the broader themes of power, people, place and products. Old carding machines, restored to working standard, are on show and visitors  have the chance to try out scale model water wheels to harness the power of rushing water.  The centre also lets visitors get a sense of the noise, heat and smell of life on the factory floor as the machines churned out products, like webbing, for export throughout the British Empire and beyond.  

  • 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.

For further information, interviews and images

Ellen Drummond Ferroni
0131 668 8734 / 07801 820757