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This building is in the Aberdeen Council and the Old Machar Parish. It is a category A building and was listed on 25/11/1991.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: NJ 9257 9602.


1793-4. 3-storey and basement, 17-bay flax spinning mill. Squared granite rubble with pinnings. Top 2 storeys and attic removed following a fire in 1900. Adjoining wing mill, engine and wheel house with associated water systems, turbines and pumps.

LONG ELEVATIONS: windows blocked in alternate pairs. Centre bay arched hoist openings over original lade to N elevation. Scar left by demolished chimney stack (circular section brick on tall granite-built plinth) flanked by lavatory towers at centre of S elevation. Slate roof with skylights.

6-stage square tower at E gable. Windows to E elevation within tall semi-circular headed recess. Top stage blocked Diocletian windows to N face. Scar of circa 1830 beam engine house which projected from S elevation. Top cornice and parapet. Domed columned belfry pergola removed 1900 (bells were dated 1803).

Interior of old mill; unique construction of flagstone floors on a grid of I-section cast-iron joists and beams. This probably a circa 1812-26 alteration incorporating the original cast-iron columns with integral saddles that may at first have carried timber cross beams (some of which remain at basement level). Very early cast-iron grid in bell tower to support water tank. Timber roof of little interest.

E WING MILL: (originally heckling, later wool teasing, now the bale opening dept.) added at right angles, 1812, later reduced to 1-storey, 2-storey at S. This flanks the arched lade that runs under the W end of the mill and then turns left into the;

WHEELHOUSE; 1826. Ashlar base. Upper parts squared rubble with pinnings. Water enters and leaves via wide segmental arched openings. Re-roofed in asbestos circa 1930. Low level bridge of cast-iron girders carries pipes and drives to S. Contains Boving and Co double impellor turbines, 19 38, in place of horizontal Hercules turbines by John Turnbull & Sons, Glasgow, 1905. Belt drive to surviving horizontal fire pump, 1905. The original wheel, by Hewes & Wren (via Woodside Works), 25' diameter and 21' wide is now in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

External sluices to control overflow probably 1905 ironwork on 1826 masonry.

ENGINE HOUSE: single storey infill between mill, wheelhouse and old dye house. 5-bay S elevation to lade overflow, E elevation formerly adjoined dye house. W elevation 2 arched bays in brick with granite gable, for 120hp steam engine by Douglas & Grant, 1889 (scrapped 1905).


Leys Masson & Co, amongst the largest flax spinners in Scotland, occupied the site from 1792 -1848 and were succeeded by J & J Crombie Ltd. from 1895 until the present, as the largest vertically integrated tweed mill in Scotland, and with the highest reputation for its products. Production is (1991) in single storey sheds built between 1877 and 11931, divided by street within the works. The water power amounted to more than 200hp, then considered enormous for one site. The turbines and the pumps now in place are fixtures of interest. The original building is of exceptional importance as having been amongst the tallest 18th century buildings in Scotland and was operated by one of the country's most ambitious and litigious industrial concerns. The construction of the floors is comparable to that in the Royal Navy Dockyards, rather than any other known textile mill. It is presumed to be an early 19th century alteration. If it proved to be original, it would predate what is thought to be the world's first iron framed building, also a flax mill, by 4 years.


Information (drawings, photographs and typescript histories) from J & J Crombie Ltd. CROMBIES OF GRANDHOLM AND COTHAL, 1850-1960; John R Allan, 1960. ANNALS OF WOODSIDE AND NEWHILLS; P Morgan, 1886.

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).