Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Bessbrook Spinning Co

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of Bessbrook, Ireland

The Bessbrook Flax Spinning Mills were amongst the oldest in Ireland using power spinning (1889), although previously they relied on power from the Bessbrook stream.

1846 the Bessbrook spinning mills were acquired by John Grubb Richardson and his brothers, who erected new buildings chiefly of cut granite. In addition to flax spinning the company carried out bleaching of yarns and the weaving of various classes of linen fabrics, including damasks, towels, and sheetings.

1863 John Grubb Richardson bought out the entire business, works, and village of Bessbrook from its parent company, J. N. Richardson, Sons and Owden, and formed the Bessbrook Spinning Co. The timing of the formation of the new company proved extremely fortuitous in that it coincided with a sudden and unexpected upturn in the fortunes of the Irish linen industry, caused by the cotton famine in Britain. In the first two years of its existence, annual profits rose from just over £8000 to over £41,000

Among the developments at Bessbrook in Richardson's early years of management

1867 Introduced damask weaving

1868 the firm purchased the nearby Craigmore factory in order to extend its power-loom weaving operations.

1869 Innovation of the "Bessbrook machine" for damask weaving.

1878 The Bessbrook Spinning Company was incorporated as a limited company, with James Nicholson Richardson as its first chairman.

c.1903 Conversion of the old mills, driven by separate and independent steam engines, to a central provision of mechanical power using an up-to-date steam plant driven by a coal-fired boilers[1]


presumably related to a company of similar name later located in London:

of 15 Aldersgate Street, London, EC1

1937 Weavers of aeroplane linen etc.

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1904/07/28