*Bank Holiday Event Sun 27th August*North East England Cadet Pipes & Drums @Otterburn Mill

Come and join us on Bank Holiday Sunday for two performances by the wonderful North East England Cadet Pipes & Drums. A crowd stirring performance for young and old. Playing a range of traditional music with dancers,on the ever impressive bagpipes.

Performance times are 11.15am and 2.30pm – lasting approx 20-25 mins

Why not make a day of it?

Enjoy time on the lawn with kids play area and freshly cooked food from Weavers Cafe. With free parking and relics from the old mill to see you can also spend time in our shop with a range of top brands at competitive prices.

We’ve also outdoor picnic area and nature trail. Look forward to seeing you.

This event is free.
Directions http://bit.ly/2gcpz2f

Dare 2b Introducing a new range at Otterburn Life

We are always on the hunt for new and fresh ranges that enhance our existing brands and give our visitors more choice to mix and match.

Dare 2b sets trends, innovates new technologies in order to 
create exciting outdoor performance apparel.

Dare 2b produce some of  the best performing,  best looking and best value sportswear on the planet. Enabling people to live fitter, more fun, more adrenaline 
packed lives through sport.

Distributed in over 65 countries this is a global force which have developed collections for multiple sporting disciplines including road cycling and running wear.

Over the years Dare 2b have made a big impact within the industry and have joined forces with mountain resort partners such as Tignes, and Sierra Nevada to provide kit for pro’s working on the slopes. Other collaborations also include working with our partner charities such as Snow Camp and our work with world famous cycling events and athletes.

Meet Otterburn the Memory Bear

Unfortunately I have to make it clear that this is not my idea or my doing, I’m afraid but I do take my hat off to the lady whose idea it was. The pictures of this memory bear were kindly sent to us by a lady whose relative had recently passed away and in her relatives wardrobe she found an Otterburn Mill tweed skirt. This is something in itself as we stopped production here at the mill in the mid 70’s.


In the build up to this Otterburn textiles had been used in the designs of the likes of Mary Quant and had graced the cover of Vogue. We still have some of the photo’s here in Weavers Cafe.


The skirt was used to commission a memory bear, as a lasting tribute and Zilla Brown of www.zillabears.co.uk was the lucky lady who was given this task.


What you see are photos of the original skirt and the end result, which look fabulous and I’m sure will be a lasting reminder.

Memory bear





10 Reasons to visit Otterburn Mill


Well, – I don’t know about you but sometimes I’m guilty of missing what is under my nose and it does me good to just sit and contemplate things. So here are my top 10 reasons on why to visit us.new-mill-image

  1. Before you even get here, you will have travelled through some of Northumberland’s finest and wildest scenery, seen remote houses and villages and enjoyed landscapes not often enjoyed.
  2. This is easy – Free parking and lots of it, room for everyone really, from motor homes to motorbikes.
  3. Free Admission – doesn’t happen often these days.

That’s the first three taken care of and now more of what is at the mill.By the way, I have not dared to put these in any particular order; they are a list, a straight forward list, so here we go with 4, 5 & 6.

  1. Weavers Cafe, with its 5/5 hygiene rating you know the basics are done well, then layer on top of that our locally source produce (were possible) and “freshly made everyday” dishes, then you’ve the ingredients for a filling, value for money, tasty meal or snack. A particular fav of mine are the freshly baked cheese scones.
  2. Picnic area, for use by visitors allows you to bring your own picnic and choose from the fine selection at Weavers, however their is nothing like a warm day to sit outside with a bite to eat and a coffee and listen to the sounds of nature.
  3. Children’s’ play area – a vital point for me, if there is something to keep the kids happy, then great that makes my life a lot easier.

The last four…………….

  1. Artefacts, ok, so I know this may sound a little boring, but the mill is littered with old traditional artefacts from when the mill churned out textiles and was a manufacturing unit. The walls are littered with designs from the likes of Mary Quant who used Otterburn Textiles, and graced the cover of Vogue.
  2. Otterburn Life – our retail shop, it’s huge, not some afterthought, but a lovely bit of spacious retail space, again some of the original mill machinery cogs can still be seen in the shop. We also have a shop in Rothbury for those who want to explore more.
  3. Brands, yes, BIG brands, we’ve got most of the major ones covered from the likes of Joules, Regatta, Crocs, Weird Fish, White stuff and many more.
  4. The Otterburn baby blanket – goes all over the world and is well known for its Royal connection, it graces some of the best dressed prams in the world and is a real thoroughbred air loom.

When it’s finally time to leave, don’t worry you can still find us at www.otterburnlife.com  so we are never that far away.


The Otterburn Mill History and the Waddel Family of Jedburgh

It was in 1821 that William Waddell of Jedburgh, younger member of a respectable family of woollen manufacturers, brought his young bride, 17 year old Charlotte Ferrier, with whom he had eloped, to the remote borders village of Otterburn – Charlotte having absconded from the fashionable “School for Young Ladies” in George shops_17Square, Edinburgh.

The textile trade was one of the first to benefit from the Industrial Revolution and, at the start of the 19th Century, woollen mills were being built by landlords to convert and profit from locally produced wools. By the 1820’s the practice of these landlords had changed – they began leasing off these sites to the new generation of men trained in bulk textiles.

Undaunted by the prospect of a crippling 109 year lease, whose terms precluded any substantial expansion, William, aided by his wife, their everincreasing family, and a small local workforce, took in the wool fleeces from local farmers and in return supplied the farmer with blankets, cloth or knitting yarn. The wool was converted to yarn in the mill and sent to the local hand loom weavers who produced the blankets and cloth. The woven product was returned to the mill to be washed and finished, ready for use.

Expansion at the Mill – supplies to Royalty.

On William III’s succession the textile industry was no longer a cottage industry but had now become a factory based operation. In the past, the farmers would bring in their wool and it would be washed and dyed to the colours required and during the winter the farmer and his wife would hand spin the wool and bring it back to the mill as yarn. The yarn would be then hand woven in tweed, blankets or rugs. William III introduced the carding and spinning jenny to Otterburn Mill, mechanising the yarn production.

Wool bartering

The farmers would bring in their wool clip to Otterburn Mill during July and August and a value would be placed upon it by the mill and a credit note issued. Throughout the year the farmer would visit the mill shop to acquire knitting yarn and tweed for clothing and have it offset against the credit note.This practice was common in the border woollen trade up until the 1960’s.

Williams old age

Recently we were visited by the Scot family from Burness (near to Otterburn) who were researching their family tree. They found that their great, great, great grandmother nursed William III during his old age, as he suffered from gout. From their family papers they found a letter stating that one day she was dressing the gout ridden foot and it fell off in her hands!

Bulk manufacturing arrives

By 1910, the first power looms were installed requiring further expansion of the mill building. A new diesel engine was installed to run the machinery. The mill became famous for its quality, colour and design. William, along with his brother George, acquired another mill in Carlisle and Otterburn Mill became a brand leader in woven cloths.

Rena Waddell

By the late 30’s Rena, daughter of William, took charge of design and marketing for the Otterburn Mill ranges and became a fashion icon. Such was the popularity of the materials and designs, that the Mill’s products were sought after by members of the Royal family. During this period, Otterburn produced tweeds which were adopted by such notable fashion houses as Dior and Schiaparelli, Balmain, Pacquin and Jaques Griffe. Garments were often featured on the cover of top magazines such as Vogue.

Power of the gilet




shop-now-buttonThere’s a lot of power in a sleeve. Leather jacket? Cool. Leather vest? Put down the Sons of Anarchy box set. The same applies to padded jackets. Slice the arms off an otherwise on-point garment and you may as well accessorise with a combine harvester and the smell of pigs.

But leave that thought firmly behind you as the Gilet shakes off it’s bumpkin airs and emerges as one of the most must have items in your wardrobe male or female. Available in a variety of finishes, there is one for every shape, style and preference. We look at how some of the best worn gilets are shaping up.

  1. Layer Takes The Cake

A gilet is a statement. So don’t double up with mouthy shirts. In fact, feel free to ditch collars entirely (which also ensures you’re not tempted to pop yours) by opting for a long-sleeve tee or unfussy knitwear instead. Then just add an overcoat when your thermometer begins to frost up.

Puffiness does no favours for your now streamlined silhouette; down is your friend here, keeping your torso toasty without lumps.




2. Put On Mute

Rugby songs go hand-in-muddy-hand with coruscating colours. Unless you know the words to Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, neutrals are a better bet. Brights are as ill-advised

Subdued tones like black, grey, navy and stone are visually less punchy and have the added advantage of mixing well with the rest of your wardrobe,

  1. Keep It Casual

As those Pitti peacocks prove, you can wear a gilet with a suit. But it’s a power move. Approach it like a relaxed take on the waistcoat, one that sits well under equally chilled-out tailoring. Your jacket should be unstructured – don’t double-down on padding – and the gilet’s fabric and colour should complement, but not match. It’s not about pretending you’re in a three-piece.


4.Be Season-Appropriate

Leave ruddy cheeks to rural pubs. Deployed right, the gilet is a layering godsend that helps you hit that sweet spot between numb fingers and a sprinkling forehead. In winter, opt for densely padded versions that keep heat in, but won’t have Bill Murray coming at you with his proton pack.

When it’s bright outside you can be a touch lighter yourself.







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