Picture: Hugh Bryden
The Rosefield Mills buildings are the last surviving large-scale Victorian industrial buildings in Dumfries, and are therefore of key cultural and historic importance to the town. The former mill buildings are listed, Category B and are located within the Dumfries Conservation Area. The buildings are derelict, and are included in the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland.
Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust (DHBT) has acquired the most prominent and significant of the former mill buildings, having a colossal Venetian palazzo frontage to the River Nith, a prominent and attractive architectural landmark in the town, much-loved by the local community.
The river-front building was completed in 1886 as the first part of an extended building programme between 1886 and 1896. The buildings were designed by the Dumfries architect Alan Burgess Crombie (1845-1904), whose architectural practice is part of the cultural legacy of Dumfries through his design of villas, manses, schools and church work mostly still in use. The mills were designed and built for Charteries, Spence & Co. Ltd., manufacturers of Scottish tweeds and worsted fabrics, which were exported across the world.
Rosefield Mills is of great significance to the community even as a derelict building, and the possibility of its re-use for community benefit has received spontaneous and widespread support from the public, both locally in Dumfries, more widely across the region, and even from Norway, as the building housed troops from Norway during WW2.
The wider former mills site extends to around 10 acres, much of it derelict, yet within the town centre, just five minutes’ walk from the High Street. There is huge scope for both the preservation of the remaining architectural heritage as well as for an outstanding piece of new urban design fulfilling a multitude of purposes. The aspiration is for the restoration of our building to act as a catalyst for the renewal and urban regeneration of the wider 10-acre site.
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