Prince Charles was in an industrial estate in Perth this week, learning about the manufacture of an iconic piece of Scottish clothing. The Prince was visiting Margaret Morrison Limited and was given a guided tour of how sporrans were manufactured. During his visit he was shown all aspects of the production, including the cutting of the leather and also how laser etching machines can burn intricate patterns onto the leather, such as a thistle. In addition to learning the processes, the Prince was also keen to learn about staff training and also where the various raw materials were sourced.
Greg Whyte of Margaret Morrison said “It’s been a great day – to have someone of that stature take an interest in our business is wonderful. We are a very small family-run manufacturing business and for someone at that level to take a genuine interest in what we do is a fantastic feather in our cap. Prince Charles is very easy to talk to – he’s very good at putting people at their ease.” He met a number of the staff there including Kimberley and Liam Neil, who are brother and sister, who also have their cousin James Yates working for the firm. The Prince made Kimberley laugh, as he commented that he got cheap labour by employing family.
As he left the factory, he was presented with a selection of three sporrans by the company. A daywear sporran of dyed leather, a more traditional one made of seal skin, and a bespoke one of ermine with the Prince of Wales’ feathers embossed on the front. These were gladly accepted by the Prince, together with a bottle of Laphraoig Whisky from a firm of whisky auctioneers in the next-door building.
The sporran is similar to the medieval belt pouch, as the traditional highland kilts do not have pockets. It is intended for carrying wallets, and personal equipment and the design compliments that of the belt and buckle it usually hangs below. They vary in complexity and pattern from simple ones for day-wear to ornate and decorated ones to wear with a dress kilt.