Harris Tweed Authority Archive

Advert from ‘Ambassador’ magazine Autumn 1971

The Harris Tweed Authority is the guardian of the Harris Tweed Orb trade mark, and as such plays a regulatory role in the industry. Harris Tweed is a cloth that is made exclusively in the Outer Hebrides. In the modern-day industry, wool is dyed, carded and spun in mills, before being sent to weavers who weave the yarn into tweed using manual looms in their own homes. The tweed is then transferred back to the mill for finishing, before being stamped with the Orb mark by an HTA representative to prove its authenticity.

The Harris Tweed Authority archive collection comprises a variety of records relating to the activities of the Harris Tweed Association (1909-1993) (the predecessor organisation) and the Harris Tweed Authority (1993-present).

As well as records such as minute books and correspondence there is also advertising material, press cuttings, photographs, lists of weavers, and stamping books. Some of the more unusual items include limericks written for a competition in 1982, school and college projects on the Harris Tweed industry, imitation labels from the 1950s-1960s, and a piece of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Harris Tweed.

The collection was catalogued with grant funding from The National Archives National Cataloguing Grants Programme and the Harris Tweed Authority Educational Trust. The full catalogue is available here.

The aims of the 15-month project were to:

  • Transfer the HTA archive material previously held by the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness to Tasglann nan Eilean, bringing the whole collection together;
  • Sort, arrange, appraise and fully catalogue the material;
  • Make the catalogue available online, so that people are able to discover sources of potential value for particular research topics;
  • Make the archive contents accessible for researchers, exhibitions, educational and other uses.

If you wish to use this collection for research please contact the archive service.

More information about the Harris Tweed industry is available here.

Other collections with material relevant to Harris Tweed include the James Shaw Grant collection, the Gösta Sandberg photograph collection, the Calbost Collection Trust archive and the Harris Tweed collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please see this page for an overview of all the archive collections.

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