The browser you are using is out of date and is no longer supported. To view and use this site correctly, please update your browser to the latest version.

We're changing

We have created a new public body, Historic Environment Scotland. While we work on shaping our future we can reassure you that all services and products will continue as normal. Please follow our progress and find out more about our new organisation.

Get crafty for Christmas at Stanley Mills

10 December 2009

This Saturday, why not escape the Christmas shopping crowds and learn how to make your own personalised festive gifts and decorations at the historic Stanley Mills complex on the banks of the River Tay.

At the special Christmas Crafts drop-in event from noon till 3pm on 12th December, Ranger Iain Lewis will be showing visitors how to gather natural materials from the local environment - such as branches, mosses, sprigs of holly, and pine cones collected from the woods - to make a variety of decorations, table centres and festive wreaths.  

Iain said: “Anyone – of any age and any artistic ability – can make really attractive decorations very cheaply using natural materials. And, as well as being environmentally-friendly and eye-catching, they’re individual and unique.  I’ll be highlighting just how easy and enjoyable it is to craft your own Christmas, with a little help from nature.”

Education Officer Fiona Davidson will also be demonstrating how to use recycled materials in a variety of craft uses to make cotton snowmen, Victorian tree decorations, and even ice art.

Fiona said: “The crafts I’ve chosen all have some sort of connection or relevance to Stanley Mills - hence the use of cotton, old materials and water/ice, and the Victorian theme - all of which have appropriate links to the Mills.”

Saturday’s Christmas Crafts family event is included in the admission cost to Stanley Mills so also offers a great opportunity to explore one of the country’s most outstanding new visitor experiences.  Created following a £4 million regeneration of Britain’s finest surviving early cotton mills, this superb attraction provides an engaging insight into Scotland’s industrial and social heritage and the history of the local area.

Visitor Services Manager Kaye Finlay said: “Stanley Mills offers a great day out for all the family at any time of year, and special events, such as our Christmas Crafts afternoon, add to the enjoyment of a fascinating visit and provide even greater value.

“The winter months are a great time to visit Stanley Mills as there are fewer tourists so it tends to be quieter and easier to see all of our exhibits and interactive displays.  And we’re open right through the winter - 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 complex to life, Stanley Mills provides both adults and children with a ‘hands on’ opportunity to have fun learning about the mills’ history.  The interactive visitor experience incorporates a captivating 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.

Notes for Editors

  • 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 £2.50, Concession £3.75
  • 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 that is sensitive to its historic importance culminated in the opening of the complex as an exciting new 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. Key phases of the project involved the restoration of the lades and conservation of the historic buildings fit out, furnish and decorate the buildings. The East Mill and most of Mid Mill have been converted into flats and townhouses by the Phoenix Trust, completed in 2000.
  • The Bell and Mid Mill are open to visitors and are available for educational and pre-booked groups.
  • 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

Rebecca Hamilton
Marketing Manager
0131 668 8685 / 07788 923871