The product we all recognise as “Tweed” has its origins in Commercial Road, Hawick, just a few yards away from where Lovat Mill stands today.
The term “Tweed” was coined quite accidentally in 1826 as the result of a misread label on a shipment of woven wool “Tweels” – the Scots dialect word for twill – from weaver William Watson & Sons of Commercial Road, Hawick, to a London cloth merchant. The word “Tweel” had perhaps not been written clearly on the label but to the merchant “Tweed” made complete sense as these fabrics were chiefly used in those days by gentlemen for shooting and fishing, with the nearby river Tweed being a fashionable destination for such pursuits.
With the misunderstanding then being perpetuated by the customer reordering another consignment of “Tweeds”, William Watson chose not to correct the mistake. Realising he had a fantastic name for his product, and recognising the branding opportunity, he promptly adopted the term as a description for his mill’s high quality sporting cloths. In modern times William Watson would have been well advised to register copyright on this new product, however 200 years ago there were few such considerations and use of the word soon spread all over Scotland and, ultimately, throughout the World.
Now generally recognised as “The Home of Tweed”, Lovat Mill is proud to be the torch bearer of William Watson’s legacy, continuing the manufacture of this unique product into the 21st century.