Patterson’s Spade Mill

When the last of five generations of Pattersons operating their spade-mill at Templepatrick died in 1990, a long tradition seemed likely to disappear, but the National Trust acquired the property and commissioned Hearth to carry out its restoration.

It is not by any stretch of the imagination a piece of fine architecture, but it is a fascinating relic of rural industrial archaeology, and following the Trust’s intervention spades are still made there today. The property started life as a paper mill, and was used as a linen beetling mill before the Pattersons took it over in 1910, so the challenge was to restore the mill to a working state as it was in its heyday (around 1950) while still revealing the earlier history.

As well as repairing the buildings in 1993-94, the water turbine was brought back into operation by engineer Roy McMeekin, and it powers some thirty other machines through a system of belts and drives, which between them facilitate the many complex stages of hand-made spades. A difficult balance had to be struck between health and safety for workers and the desire to leave the interior as open and visible as possible for visitors.

Project By
Consultancy Scheme
Year restored
Martin & Hamilton
Roy McMeekin