159-year-old Arbroath former weaving mill transformed into 24 affordable homes



Regeneration work to convert a disused former power loom weaving mill in Arbroath into 24 affordable apartments is now complete, with the keys ready to be handed over to the first group of tenants.

Cullross and George Martin Builders began work in September 2019 on the £2.9 million Hillcrest redevelopment of Baltic Mill, which is one of the town’s last remaining icons of its industrial heritage.

The one and two-bedroom properties will give the provision of social housing a vital boost in the Angus town, while energy efficiency measures such as high performance insulation will help keep energy bills as low as possible.

The exterior of the category A listed building has been preserved, retaining its historical appearance, while many common areas such as stairwells have also retained the period features of the mill such as original handrails and interior walls.

The regeneration of the mill will now see the historical building preserved for the future, serving as a constant nod to the town’s rich industrial past. One of the mill’s original cast iron weighing mechanisms has also been preserved, and is now proudly housed in the main entrance lobby of the building.

Baltic Mill before the renovation

Built in 1861, the mill was owned by Arbroath businessman Andrew Lowson and operated as a power loom weaving factory. It wove yarn spun in the nearby Green’s Mill, which burned down in 1991.

At his commercial peak, Lowson owned eight mills and was the largest and most important manufacturer in Arbroath. He was reported to have had “twice as many employees and horsepower at his disposal” as his nearest competitor.

The interior of the mill prior to redevelopment

Following Lowson’s death and some ill-judged investments by his sons, Baltic Mill was sold and found a new life as a whiskey bond from 1932. Following the closure of the bond in 1990, the mill sat empty for almost three decades.

David Zwirlein, Hillcrest director of development, said: “The redevelopment of Arbroath’s Baltic Mill into good quality affordable apartments marks an exciting step in the preservation of a building which has been an historical icon in the town for many years.

“Having sat empty for so long, we’re delighted to bring a new lease of life to the 158 year old building, and preserve a part of Mr Lowson’s, and also Arbroath’s industrial legacy.”

Ryan Fletcher, managing director at developers Cullross, added: “We’re thrilled to have finally completed the conversion of Baltic Mill into new homes for Hillcrest. As with all historic buildings, they present many challenges during construction, and Baltic Mill was no exception. The main contractor and the professional team worked really well together so that any issues were quickly dealt with. 

“Covid-19 undoubtedly had an impact on this project and has delayed handover by several weeks but we’ve pulled out all the stops to get these home complete as soon as possible. We’re really grateful to George Martin Builders, the end product is fantastic.

“It’ll be great to see the building occupied and to watch a new community grow up around it.”  



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