Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Richard Atkinson and Co

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of Irish Poplin House, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Telephone: Belfast 28079. Also at Belfast Chambers, Regent Street, London, and 31 College Green, Dublin, Eire.

The story of Atkinsons Royal Irish Poplin began in the southern French city of Avignon in the 1400s when papeline, a silk fabric named for the papal residence, was woven into ecclesiastical robes.[1]

During troubled times in the seventeenth century, hundreds of Huguenot refugee weavers from Avignon moved to Ireland, where they joined Irish weavers in the Coombe Valley.

The original silk papeline evolved over a hundred years into Irish poplin - a heavy fabric consisting of a rich silk warp and a fine worsted wool weft. The weft is thick and gives the fabric a ribbed look similar to a repp weave.

Originally, Irish poplin was handwoven in the homes of the weavers. The craft of weaving Irish poplin was handed down from father to son with no outsiders allowed to become apprentices under the laws of the weavers guild.

In 1820 Richard Atkinson, the then Lord Mayor of Dublin, asked a group of weavers to make their Irish poplin for his shop.

By 1837, Mr. Atkinson's Irish poplin fabric was so popular that Queen Victoria granted Atkinsons a Royal Warrant.

In the early 1900s, Atkinsons moved away from ladies' fabrics towards the production of Irish poplin for cravats and ties.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Hand loom woven Tie Fabrics including Royal Irish Poplin, Hand Tailored Ties, Scarves and Tobacco Pouches. (Earls Court, Ground Floor, Stand No. 352) [2]

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