Martin Whitfield MSP has praised Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen following a recent visit to the National Trust for Scotland property.

Mr Whitfield was invited to visit the printing works by the Trust to find out more about the oldest working commercial letterpress printers in the UK, as well as the charity’s wider work in the Scottish Borders and across the rest of the South of Scotland.

The MSP was impressed by the unique history of the printing works, which opened in 1866, the way it has been conserved since the National Trust for Scotland purchased it in 1986, and the close local ties it still enjoys with Innerleithen and neighbouring communities in the Borders.

Speaking after his visit, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“I was very pleased to take up the National Trust’s kind invite to visit Robert Smail’s Printing Works and discover more about its origins and history. It conserves, celebrates and explains a vital part of our industrial heritage and social history, as well as continuing to operate as a printing works to this day.

“I had actually visited it a few years ago with my family but enjoyed finding out more about different aspects of its past during this visit. I know it already has a long and very close connection to the local community but can certainly recommend it to anyone in the area who has not visited before.

“I’m grateful to the Trust staff and volunteers for taking the time out to give me the tour and history of Robert Smail’s, and for everything they do to help maintain and make accessible this and other important properties across the South of Scotland.”

Gordon Stewart, Visitor Services Manager, Borders Cluster at the National Trust for Scotland, said:

“We were delighted to host Mr Whitfield at Robert Smail’s Printworks.

“We welcome every opportunity to engage with our elected representatives in order to show how much we contribute to the tourism economy and support local businesses through places like Smail’s.  And of course, we always relish the chance to talk about the fascinating technical and social history represented by one of the last remaining traditional print shops in Scotland.”

Find out more about Robert Smail’s Printing Works at