Waterside local history

In former times Waterside was famed for its neat and tidy weavers’ cottages on the north bank of the Luggie, some slated and some thatched, and its picturesque mills on the south bank. In between lay a well-built mill dam, which overflowed as an attractive waterfall, between river levels. During the 1890s the whole scene was described as ‘uncommonly beautiful’.

Many of the former weavers’ cottages survive but the mills have long since been demolished. The mill dam has collapsed into a random scattering of stones on the river bed. The upper of the two mills was situated beside the dam, and was a justifiably popular subject for picture postcards. It was built in 1779, as a lint mill for the processing of flax for the local linen industry. Further downstream was the Earl of Wigton’s ancient corn mill of Duntiblae, where local people from a wide area round about were obliged to take their grain for grinding. A lade, or water course, led from the mill dam first to the lint mill, then several hundred yards downstream to the corn mill, to supply both with water. Remains of the lade channel can still be discerned on the south bank of the Luggie, near the footbridge.

The corn mill was burned down during the middle years of the nineteenth century but was rebuilt as a factory for making spades and shovels. The lint mill was later adapted as an auxiliary of the shovel works.

Another interesting building at Waterside is the former Subscription School, which survives just north of the footbridge. An inscription provides the information that it was erected in 1839 by Wm Aitken and Co, contractors. The Subscription School was superseded by Gartconner School and later served as a meeting place for a variety of local organisations.