Industrial History, — September 5, 2006 13:01 — 0 Comments

Bailey’s Foundry

This historic building, on the way into Bessbrook was recently demolished. There are very few remaining anywhere in the district. They were located close to rivers where water could be diverted and utilised as a source of power.

This one, known latterly as Bailey’s Foundry actually started life as a spinning mill in the late eighteenth century. Also availing of the adjacent river there was a flour mill alongside it. The first owners were Jacksons. At the time – the early decades of the nineteenth century, there was also another spinning mill in Bessbrook operated by Joseph Nicholson.

This was the height of the First Industrial Revolution and most advances took place in textiles manufacture. The big change at this particular time was the introduction of wet-spinning. Nicholson got a grant from the Irish Linen Board to experiment here with wet-spinning.

By about 1830 people named Smith from Newry owned Derramore Estate (this is a mere generation after the infamous Isaac Corry, Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer) and all structures within it – including these mills and foundries.

A further generation on and it all was owned (in the 1860s) by Richardsons. A granite works was added to the complex of buildings – known locally as the ‘granite polishing shops’.

The Bailey referred to earlier came on the scene at the turn of the twentieth century. Then the spinning mill became a foundry employing up to thirty people. A variety of ironmongery goods was manufactured right up until its closure in the 1970s.

Now, even the ancient building is gone!

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