|UK Grid Reference:||HU436545|
|Distance from Lerwick by road:||13 miles|
|Community Council:||Nesting & Lunnasting|
|Google Street View:||Street View|
Linen Manufacture at Catfirth
In 1770 the production of linen was started at Catfirth but the project was abandoned when attempts to grow Flax in Shetland failed.
The following is an extract from:
A View of the Ancient and Present State of the Zetland Islands, VOL II, 1809;
By Arthur Edmondston M.D.
- In 1770, a linen manufactory was established at Catfirth, in the parish of Nesting, and several of the principal gentlemen in the country had shares in it. The management of it was entrusted to a native of the country, who had served an apprenticeship to a weaver, and was himself also a subscriber. It did not appear to be so much an object of this company to manufacture linen, either for exportation or for general sale to the people, as to serve as an accommodation to persons residing in Zetland, who furnished the materials and paid for the weaving of them. This plan, although calculated, perhaps, to diminish risk, was not likely to render the scheme a productive concern; and as the first establishment had been necessarily expensive, after a trial of six years, like many other corporate associations, the returns were swallowed up, and the original capital of £1600 lost. Some years after this failure,the original subscribers renewed the manufactory under the management of a person from Orkney, but it failed also, and nothing of the kind has been attempted since.
The obvious causes which led to the failure of this establishment, were the hurried and expensive manner in which it was begun, and the want of attention to ensure a due supply of materials for carrying it on. Some difficulties also attended the obtaining a convenient situation for the works, which were at last accidentally destroyed by the breaking down of the dykes of the reservoir for the water which drove the mill.