Ballantyne Cashmere was founded in 1921 in a small Scottish town called Innerleithen in the Borders region. Henry Ballantyne rented Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen in 1820. He decided to break away and left Galashiels to establish his own mill so he rented in Innerleithen at Caelee for 9 years till 1892 when he moved back to Galashiels. David Ballantyne (father of Henry Ballantyne) was recorded as being a member of the Galashiels Manufacturers Association. Henry Ballantyne left Galashiels once more and decided to build his own factory in 1847 by buying a piece of land with the Walker Burn running through it.
Middle of the 19th Century was time of great prosperity and rapid expansion in the Tweed trade. Scottish wool fabrics wear very popular. Coarse grey tweed of the area became more fashionable with tweeds, wool fabrics and fine district checks for estates and tartans. Soft tartans for the nobility (even Queen Victoria) and trousers made with twisted yarns and mixed colorings were now the fashion.
The Ballantyne family made a great deal of money during this period – despite in 1890s the American tariff trade barriers which ruined many of the traditional weavers in Galashiels. 75% of the cloth was now going to America. In 1865 Henry Ballantyne died. He had 5 sons left to succeed him – David, John, George, James and Henry. His five sons inherited a fine large business (large by Scottish standards). Ballantyne’s headquarters are located in Milan.
The general management, creative, sales, retail, administrative, logistics and communications departments are located here. Heart of the production process is the recently constructed production platform in Umbria, also the site of the creative department, where the majority of garments in precious cashmere are produced.
The production of intarsia knitwear using a hand loom in the Caerlee Mills plant is an exclusively Scottish tradition.
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