Drumohr – also known as J.A. Robertson(Dumfries) Ltd

Detail of printed coloured map of south west Scotland showing the borders of each local county
South West Scotland (Map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland)

The south west has a long history of hosiery and knitwear production. J.A.Robertson & Sons responsible for the Drumohr brand, originated in 1773 as a hosiery manufacturer, one of many small stocking and glove making businesses in the area employing outworkers working stocking frames. By 1851 the business was sufficiently well known to exhibit at the London Great Exhibition.

The late nineteenth century saw this family-owned business build a new factory in Dumfries to produce hosiery, gloves and socks using Jacquard patterns. It also began producing fully-fashioned wool and cashmere outerwear for the luxury market at home and overseas. When the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) was photographed wearing a Drumohr sweater and socks on the golf course the company’s profile was enhanced.

Although the business closed down operations during WW2, it commenced a new chapter in the postwar decades, expanding to three factories in the 1960s and 70s, drawing on the pool of female labour in the region operating Jacquard machines and hand frames to produce Argyll and Fair Isle styled garments. In 1973 the company celebrated two centuries of family business but in the face of overseas competition and several changes of ownership, the Dumfries factory closed in 2003.