Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

11/7/2007

National Tartan Register to be set up

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather today committed to creating a National Register of Tartan to “protect, promote and preserve one of Scotland’s most iconic and valuable assets”.

On a visit to two leading textiles companies in the Scottish Borders, Mr Mather said he would now work with Scottish Enterprise and the industry with the aim of having a National Register in place by next spring.

The Minister also welcomed a Scottish Enterprise commissioned assessment of the tartan industry in Scotland which confirms the significant contribution the industry makes to the economy.

Speaking at Lochcarron of Scotland in Selkirk, Mr Mather said:

“Tartan’s importance to Scotland cannot be overestimated. It is deeply embedded in Scottish culture and is an internationally recognised symbol of Scotland.

“Today’s report provides solid evidence that the tartan industry makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.

“So it is only right that the Scottish government protects, promotes and preserves one of our most valuable assets for generations to come.

“That is why today, I can confirm the Scottish government will work with the industry and stakeholders towards creating a National Register for Tartan which will classify and authenticate tartans.

“The Court of the Lord Lyon and the National Archives of Scotland will play a crucial role in setting up, operating, maintaining and facilitating access to a register. Their experience, objectivity and integrity will be invaluable in creating a definitive, independent and permanent national register of tartan.

“It is also important to recognise the work of Jamie McGrigor MSP, whose Members bill put forward the idea of a national register in the last parliament. It rightly received cross party support as an idea with real merit.

“I hope the work on a register will continue to be backed by industry and political consensus. And I hope the register will become a focus for authenticating all the superb varieties of tartan we design and produce. ”

George MacKenzie, who is Keeper of the Records and heads the National Archives of Scotland, said:

“The National Archives and the Lord Lyon’s office both have centuries of experience guarding and making available public information. Now we will be working together to create a single, official, online register of Scotland’s world-renowned symbol, tartan.”

The Minister also visited Johnston’s Cashmere in Hawick where he met James Sugden of the Scottish Textile Manufacturers Association.

In the Parliamentary session 2006-07 Jamie McGrigor MSP tabled a Members’ Bill for a publicly funded national register to recognise, classify and authenticate tartans. This attracted a good level of cross party support and Mr McGrigor agreed to withdraw his Bill on the basis that the previous administration was supportive of his proposal. Mr Mather today confirmed the new Scottish government will continue this process.

It is proposed that Scottish Enterprise now works with the industry, existing registers, the Scottish Executive and others, building on the interest and contributions that coalesced around Mr McGrigor’s draft Bill, towards introducing a National Register of Tartan.

Scottish Enterprise National Textile Team commissioned ECOTEC Research and Consulting Limited to undertake research examining the economic importance of the Tartan industry in Scotland, together with assessment of the potential benefits of establishing a National Register of Tartans. A key aim of the study has involved establishing a robust set of estimates for the economic contribution of tartan to Scotland.

ECOTEC analysis reveals that the tartan industry is a significant contributor to the overall Scottish economy; and larger in economic terms than suggested by previous industry estimates. Key findings are that:

Scotland’s tartan industry comprises a substantial component of the national textiles sector. It is estimated that there are currently some 200 tartan-related enterprises operating in Scotland, with perhaps one half of these representing kiltmakers
The direct employment contribution of Scotland’s tartan industry is estimated at approximately 4,000 jobs
Total economic contribution, including indirect and induced employments effects, is estimated at approaching 7,000 jobs.
Tartan’s overall contribution to Scotland’s GDP is equivalent to approximately £350 million per annum
In addition to its direct contribution, importantly, the tartan industry also supports jobs and output across a range of sectors, but notably in retail-wholesale activities and business services, through supply chain linkages and employee expenditure effects.

The Court of the Lord Lyon is the heraldic authority for Scotland. It deals with all matters relating to Scottish Heraldry and Coats of Arms and maintains the Scottish Public Registers of Arms and Genealogies.The Lord Lyon King of Arms is also responsible for State Ceremonial in Scotland.

Source-Scottish Executive

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