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Borders Textile Towerhouse celebrates the past, present and future of the textile industry in a beautifully restored 16th century towerhouse. Discover paintings by the well-known artist Tom Scott and changing exhibitions which showcase contemporary fashion, craft and design.

The Past

The rich history of the Borders textile mills is captured in a vast archive of unique objects and photos gathered from contributors across the region and include: an 18th century hand stocking frame, garments, tools, archive and advertising material, and a ‘muckle wheel’ for spinning yarn. User friendly touch screens allow you to revisit long vanished mills, while our interactive audio displays enable you to meet some of the stocking makers, weavers, linkers, designers, dyers and finishers who made Scotland’s best loved-knitwear and tweed brands.

The Present

Some of the world’s most famous fashions are made right here in the Borders. Pringle, Lyle & Scott, Chanel, Dior, Christopher Kane and Vivienne Westwood have all employed the outstanding skills of local textile workers. See a selection of the fashions manufactured in the Borders on our ever changing catwalk, or visit the design studio, PC’s and swatch samples to interact with the latest fashion resources and view the latest trends.

The Future

Our fashion forward exhibitions showcase the innovative creations the designers of the future are currently making. Technology is playing an integral part in shaping the future of the textile industry as technological innovation is continually pushing, and extending, the boundaries of the traditional textile world. Our exhibits show how technology is contributing to the future of textiles in the medical industry, to enhance the energy of the sun and to illustrate how fibres can identify moisture management and temperature control.

Tom Scott Gallery

Tom Scott RSA (1854-1927) was born in Selkirk and is now recognised as one of Scotland’s finest water-colourists, best known for his atmospheric Borders landscapes and historical scenes. The Tom Scott gallery is situated in the former reading room of the Tower Hotel where it displays a selection of paintings, and digital access to the museum’s wide collection of work by the renowned Borders artist. Tom Scott was a frequent visitor to the hotel, this being his favourite room, and often paid his bills with paintings! The Tom Scott gallery is also available for hire.

The Secret Tower

Explore the building's history before it became a museum. A short film takes you through the life of the building, from its construction as a fortified tower house in the turbulent times of the Border Reivers, through its development as a genteel, 18th century residence for the Duchess of Buccleuch and finally as the Tower Hotel - the heart of social life in Hawick.