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Latitude: 55.4224 / 55°25'20"N
Longitude: -2.7879 / 2°47'16"W
OS Eastings: 350226
OS Northings: 614555
OS Grid: NT502145
Mapcode National: GBR 85ZR.71
Mapcode Global: WH7XG.4ZP0
Entry Name: Rear of 21 High Street, Former William Beck's Stocking Shop
Listing Date: 18 November 2008
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 400066
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51206
Building Class: Cultural
County: Scottish Borders
Electoral Ward: Hawick and Hermitage
Traditional County: Roxburghshire
Circa 1800. 2-storey, L-plan, gabled, traditional, former stocking-manufacturing premises (now converted to housing) lining cobbled courtyard, with small, square windows to former workshops at 1st floor. Random whinstone rubble with predominantly replacement red and yellow sandstone ashlar dressings. E (courtyard) elevation with L-plan forestair to re-entrant angle, irregular fenestration at ground floor, workshop windows at 1st floor, and remnant of base of chimney to apex of gable to left. W (rear) elevation with timber-boarded door to pend at left of ground floor, 2 windows to right, and 6 workshop windows at 1st floor. Side (S) elevation with single window to each floor, and blank gable end to left.
Replacement, multi-pane timber windows, sash and case to offices and casement to former workshops. Grey slate roof with metal ridges.
A traditional, former stocking-manufacturing premises marking the transition between cottage and factory industries at the turn of the 19th century, which largely retains its original profile, including the distinctive, small, square, first-floor openings which would each have lit the space of one stocking-maker. This building is the only survivor of the type in Hawick and is important to understanding the development of the textiles industry in the town.
Textile manufacturing, particularly of hosiery, plays a key role in the history of Hawick. Many small cottage mills had appeared by 1800, and larger mills were built during the 19th century. Conveniently situated for water-powered milling at the meeting of the River Teviot and the Slitrig Water, the town was at one point one of the richest burghs per capita in Scotland as a result of the industry.
William Beck was apprenticed to Bailie Hardie in 1775 and, according to Douglas Scott's Hawick Word Book, became 'one of the most popular employers in Hawick, being the only manufacturer to refuse to lower wages during the dispute that led to the "Lang Stand Oot" [strike] of 1822.' His firm collapsed in 1826, possibly in connection with bank failures.
The building was converted to housing by Dennis Rodwell in 1991 as part of the National Trust for Scotland's Little Houses Scheme. The windows, lintels and cills have been replaced throughout.