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.

The first set is of the Calderpark Mill which became known as the Old Mill located at the junction of Calder Street and Calderpark Street.

The second set is of the New Mill. The top left photograph taken from the Parish Church steeple was taken after the fire in 1878. The part that was left and became known as the Silk Mill can be seen to the left of the chimney (only the roof is visible). Roughly in the middle of this photograph can be seen the burned out gable end of the original building. The top right photograph was taken in 1983. Christopher Crisp can be seen in the bottom left photograph which was also taken in 1983. The final shot is a view from the golf course taken in 2015.

The third set is of the Calderbank bleachfields located just beyond the cemetary. Although the main building is a ruin (top right) the ancillary buildings have been converted to residential buildings (bottom pair). 

The fourth set is of the Calder Glen Mill laterly known as Whitton's Mill. The top left photograph is dated 1965 and is very recognisable to people like myself who lived in the village at that time. The building is now demolished and at one time the foundations formed a swimming pool for the owner of the domestic dwelling on the site.The bottom left photograph shows the mill wheel and the cloak burn which, together with water from the Calder, powered the mill. The bottom right photograph is as it was in 2015. The top right photograph is the ruin of a building marked on the linked map. It is not known what its function was in this mill complex. It can be seen on your left hand side at the very start of the path which follows the Calder up the Glen.

The final set is of the mill complex that was sited at Burnfoot. Power for these mills came from the Garple burn and the small dam that can be seen on the linked map. I remember well seeing all the flags that were being produced in one of these building when I was just a lad. The photographs taken in 2017 show that very little remains of this complex.