Harris Tweed Authority, Certified Trade Mark, Hand Woven in the Outer Hebrides-
Contributor:Tony Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
File size:44.7 MB (2.8 MB Compressed download)
Releases:Model - no | Property - noDo I need a release?
Dimensions:4788 x 3264 px | 40.5 x 27.6 cm | 16 x 10.9 inches | 300dpi
Date taken:3 June 2018
Harris Tweed is a tweed cloth that is handwoven by islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. This definition, quality standards and protection of the Harris Tweed name are enshrined in the Harris Tweed Act 1993. For centuries, the islanders of Lewis and Harris, the Uists, Benbecula and Barra have woven cloth by hand, calling it 'clò-mòr' in the original Gaelic or 'big cloth'. Originally, this handmade fabric was woven by crofters for familial use, ideal for protection against the colder climate of the North of Scotland. Surplus cloth was often traded or used as barter, eventually becoming a form of currency amongst the islanders. For example, it was not unusual for rents to be paid in blankets or lengths of cloth. By the end of the 18th century, the spinning of wool yarn from local raw materials was a staple industry for crofters. Finished handmade cloth was exported to the Scottish mainland and traded along with other commodities produced by the Islanders, such as dry hides, goat and deer skins. The original name of the cloth was tweel, Scots for twill, it being woven in a twilled rather than a plain pattern. A traditional story has the name coming about almost by chance. Around 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some tweels. The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the river Tweed that flows through the Scottish Borders. Subsequently, the goods were advertised as Tweed, and the name has remained ever since