Bankend Mills was opened on 25th August 1948 by Captain Ronald A C Foster, chairman and managing director of John Foster & Son Ltd. Black Dykes Mills, Queensbury, Yorkshire. Provost of Cumnock James Holland presided at the opening ceremony and Mr James McKelvie, a director of the firm and the architect, Mr James Houston, Kiburnie, also spoke and the Black Mills Band played.
The factory had a floor area of 47,000 square feet, which at the time was the largest industrial works in Cumnock and was a branch of the main works at Queensbury. Employing around 400 men and women, the factory was designed to weave topps of wool, mohair and alpaca on motorised looms. A number of woman and men from Cumnock were trained before hand in Bradford and these workers initially acted as instructors to future employees in the factory
An interesting feature of the construction was that there were no pillars to impede the layout of machines. Every machine had its own electric motor, thus dispensing with the need for shafting, pulleys or belting. The factory was equipped with first-aid room, rest room, kitchen and canteen. The colour scheme within the building has been given careful consideration being painted in spring-time tones with the machines painted in the same colours.
The factory closed in the 70’s and is now home to a variety of workshops and businesses.
George McCartney established his business at Clockclownie Farm in 1812, moving in 1832 to a site within Cumnock itself. Employing 6 men and a blacksmith at this time. The company became well known for its engineering output which included threshing machines, mill equipment and bridge frameworks. At one time the works were producing 100 threshing mills a year - sold for £80 each.
After a visit by Kirkpatrick MacMillan in 1842, McCartney made a copy of the first every bicycle. George McCartney died unmarried in 1868 aged 78 and is buried in Ochiltree. The firm remained as George McCartney and Company - and was taken over in 1901 by Charles and Andrew Taylor. Charles and Andrew extended the manufacturing to include electrical switch gear for use in factories, shipyards and mines. The firm celebrated its centenary in 1912 - making it one of Cumnock`s longest established businesses. The factory closed in 1933 during the great depression.
The Rifleman`s Bridge - a neat lattice girder bridge which spans 75 feet across the River Lugar on the outskirts of Cumnock was manufactured by George McCartney and Co. The Company was then under the control of the Taylor Brothers, Charles and Andrew. The name stems from the fact that the bridge was once used by Cumnock Territorial Army Corps for rifle practice.
Caledonian Clear (or Beverage Brands) was part owned by SHS Sales and Marketing who sold drinks in the UK and to the export market. The various drinks were produced and bottled at a purpose built production plant in Cumnock with some production also taking place in third-party facilities both in the UK and Europe. Beverage Brands was the Number 2 manufacturer of Ready to Drink (RTD) beverages in the UK. The annual turnover at one point was in excess of £170 million.
Beverage Brands was founded by Joe Woods, Managing Director, in 1992.
In 1985, Joe Woods set up Channel Island Cream Liqueurs and developed Tipples-Little Pots of Luxury & mini coffee enhancers. In 1991, a leading whisky distiller acquired majority stakes in Channel Island Cream Liqueurs. In 1992, Joe Woods researched the US soft drinks market and revealed market potential for new-age beverages, notably fruit flavoured spring water. Also in 1992 Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd was established, with Joe Woods as Managing Director.
In 1993, Beverage Brands launched a range of four sparkling flavoured spring waters, under the Caledonian Clear brand in the UK. These include Orchard Apple, Wild Blackberry, Spring Raspberry and Perfect Peach (Summer Peach added from 1995). Also in 1993, the Zenith Guide to UK Adult Soft Drinks gave Caledonian Clear the award for Most Stylish Newcomer. In 1995 Beverage Brands launched Woody into the alcoholic carbonates market, followed in 1996 by a nationwide launch of WKD Iron Brew. In 1998, the Beverage Brands portfolio is further extended with the Woody World of Cocktails range comprising four variants (Blue Lagoon, Sea Breeze, Bellini & Pineapple Daiquiri). From 1999, Beverage Brands added various drinks to its portfolio - however, Caledonian Clear was withdrawn in December 2003.