Linen Manufacture in Ormiston
Mr John Cockburn set up the first linen manufacturing in Ormiston, the first in East Lothian, which he considered as one of the main trades of Scotland and felt the manufacture of cloth was connected with husbandry and agricultural advances that he was promoting around the land of Ormiston.
An eminent Irishman was encouraged to take up residence in the village to help with the manufacturing and whitening of the linen. He was granted a piece of land for a bleachfield, and other land in the area. This was the first bleachfield in East Lothian. Mr Cockburn also introduced some workmen from Holland to instruct local people in the art of bleaching. The success of the rising manufacuring of linen gave rise to Mr Cockburn becoming patron of the Board of Trustees who also received some pecuniary aid.
Before 1730, fine linens were sent to Haarlem in Holland to be whitened and dressed. The growing Irish community helped introduce the potato to Scotland for agricultural production. Potatoes were grown in Ormiston as early as 1734.