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Lochwinnoch was industrialised during the time of the third William McDowall of Castle Semple (1776-1810). This is when the village “moved away” from the Auld Town (Kirktoun) to the New Town centred on the cross. In 1788 McDowall built a large cotton mill, Calderpark Mill, on what was the western edge of the new village to attract new tenants. Prior to this the Linthills grew flax to make linen and the first thread mill was set up in 1722. The first linen factory opened in 1740 at Factory Close (now St Winnoch Road) in the Auld Town.

A second cotton mill, the ‘New’ or Calderhaugh Mill, was built a year after the Calderpark Mill. Calderhaugh was established by a trio of Paisley textile merchants, including Robert Fulton, son of a pioneer of Paisley’s silk manufacture. By 1813 it had 10,000 spindles and it was later converted to spinning flax, then silk.

A third cotton mill was built two years later on the Cloak Burn at Boghead, on the site of an old grain and woollen mill. The owners already had a weaving mill in Factory Street. Boghead Mill was four stories high and powered by dams at Boghead and Kaim. Like most early rural cotton mills, with their timber floors and roofs, all were lost or damaged by fires. Boghead Mill was destroyed by fire in 1812. Calderpark Mill burned down in 1874, after lightning struck the roof. Four years later in 1878, part of the Calderhaugh Mill was damaged by fire, but the remainder survives, converted to flats in the 1980s.

As on previous pages by clicking on the link (underlined word) a map from 1856 will appear showing the location of the mill. Clicking on the photograph will enlarge the image and provide further information about it.