Sherrard Smith & Co
During the past few years the goods manufactured at the Caledon Woollen Mills
have been dividing attention with those best known manufacturers in the country.
The history of the woollen industry here dates from 1882. In that year Mr.
John Charles Smith became lessee of the great flour mills, built by the Earl
of Caledon thirty years earlier, at a cost of £47,000. While the palmy days
of flour milling continued, it was said that they produced a profit of £20,000
a year. The buildings, of stone and slate, as seen in the illustration, partyl
cover premises about five acres in extent. Mr. Smith formed the firm of Sherrard
Smith & Co., consisting of Mr William O. Sherrard, himself and Mr. George
H. Thompson, and, having had an experience of twenty years in the woollen and
worsted manufacturing business at the Shannon and Burnbrook Woollen Mills,
Athlone, he began at once to lay the foundation of an industry which promises
in the near future to rank amongst the most popular in Ireland. The flour mills
had to to be entirely remodeled internally to suit the demands of woollen manufacture.
Forty looms of the best description, sets of carding engines, with selfacting
mules to match, and all the requisite equipment for preparing, dyeing and finishing
were put into position and the work begun under the most encouraging auspices.
Power is provided by a 200 horse engine, a breast wheel 30 feet in diameter
and an undershot wheel 20 feet in diameter driven by the Blackwater. The water
supply continues fair all the year round. Steam is used as an auxillary. The
manufactures consist of tweeds, friezes, serges, blankets, flannels, coatings,
costume clothes (ladies' dress goods) and knitting yarns. Messrs. Sherrard,
Smith and Co. do business only with the wholesale trade of the United Kingdom,
the European Continent, the United States and the Colonies. They were exhibitors
at the Cork International Exhibition in 1883. Their exhibit at the Artisans'
Exhibition, Dublin, 1885, won a diploma of merit. They were represented at
the Manchester Exhibition, and received the appointment of Woollen Manufacturers
to Her Majesty the Queen in 1886.
One Hundred Years Ago - A Guide and Directory 1888
By George Henry Bassett
The above text states that the mill was built in 1852 (30 years prior to John Charles Smith becoming lessee), however, this is at odds with the Lewis
account of 1842 (link
) which states that it was built in 1823. Further the mill is shown on the 1834 Ordnance
Survey map which points to the Lewis date being the more likely to be accurate.