Stained glass window provides lasting reminder of wool trade

Hellen van Rees designs dresses from leftover yarn (thinkstock)

Go back two or three centuries and much of the UK relied heavily on a booming textiles industry, which included wool farmers and cotton mills.

Fastforward to present day and while production levels have fallen, the demand for these materials has not waned.

One area where the wool trade made a huge impact was the Scottish Borders, with miles of farmland providing a large proportion of the country's wool.

To celebrate this a stained glass window has been installed in St Andrew's Episcopal Church in Innerleithen, acting as a lasting reminder of the industry that brought more than 300 years of prosperity to the region, Southern Reporter notes.

Created in the Bemeryside workshop of artist Vivienne Haig and entitled 'A View of the Wool Trade in the Scottish Borders since 1650', it was commissioned by Jeremy Ballantyne.

Mr Ballantyne, whose family started the Ballantyne of Walkerburn textile mill in the mid-19th century, decided that a permanent memory of the industry ought to be created due to the impact it had had on the Borders region.

Ms Haig told the newspaper that she is pleased with how the window appears after a long and complex design process.

She said: "The window is always different, depending on what time of the day or season you view it. It's never the same. There's a lot happening in the window, which comprises different scenes from the woollen industry over the centuries."

Ms Haig, who has in the past designed many stained glass windows for churches in the UK, praised the unique project and support she received from local firms and the work's commissioner, Mr Ballantyne.

The beautiful new window design features a selection of different coloured scenes which depict elements of the wool trade and landscapes of the Borders.

It is due to be consecrated on the morning of Saturday September 14th in a service led by the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Right Reverend Dr John Armes.

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