Saturday 17 August 2013

Old Bleach Linens * Ireland

While rereading some of my early embroidery journals, I came across these adverts for a linen company that was still marketing their traditional cloths in 1955 and I was thrilled to see that they were at that time still putting out their cloths to bleach in the fields.

Old Bleach Linens was established in 1864 by Charles James Webb, a Quaker, in Randalstown near the northern bank of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

Randalstown was originally known as An Dun Mor, it was renamed Randalstown after the 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of Antrim Randal MacDonnell. The fortune of the town depended on the success of the various industries established on the east bank of the river, one being an iron forge the other being the linen factory. There had been a strong tradition of weaving in the area and the plentiful supplies of water from the nearby River Maine meant Randalstown was an excellent site. Then of course, there was the demand for linen from both parties in the American Civil War which helped boost trade.

Now Old Bleach is one of the units of Coats Viyella- the largest textile group in Europe - and is still one of the biggest employers in the area. The area was also a Potwalloping borough which meant that if anyone had in his house, a hearth large enough to boil, or wallop, a cauldron, or pot of yarn then he was entitled to vote.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely, informative page! I found one of their tea cloths at an antique shop in South Carolina and it was marked
    Trade OLD BLEACH Mark
    Very pretty damask pattern with an embroidered W on one end. Do you happen to know of any pattern dating information? Thanks again!