Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John S. Brown and Sons

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of Ulster Works, Dublin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Hand loom weavers in the Lurgan area brought their webs to the local market to be sold. Founded by William Brownlow in accordance with a patent granted by William III, (1650 – 1702, Prince of Orange) linen merchants stood in the open street to trade, paying for and receiving the goods afterwards in the Black Bull Inn.

James Brown was a manufacturer who laid the foundation of his business at Lurgan in 1795.

At the beginning of the 19th century a Linen Hall was built in the Mall, Church Place by subscription. Every Friday hand-loom weavers crowded it and placed their webs on specially built tables provided for the purpose.

1825 The weekly sales averaged from £2,500 to £3,000. Gradually this way of doing business was superseded by a middle-man or so called manufacturer, who bought yarn in large lots from the spinner, prepared the warps, and gave them out to the weaver. Hundreds of weavers may have worked for just one manufacturer. The accumulated webs of cloth were then brought to the Brown Linen market in Belfast.

During the 19th Century, trading under the name of John S. Brown and Sons the business increased and multiplied. At one point in time it had at one time no less thanat least 1,500 hand-loom weavers in Armagh, Down, Antrim and Tyrone. The company specialised in weaving monograms, crests, coats of arms and flags on linen.

They supplied linen to the Queen and all the members of the Royal Family as well as steamship companies, railways, yacht clubs and hotels.

1929 Listed Exhibitor. Manufacturers of fine Damask, Fancy Linens, Handkerchiefs. The Irish Linen Guild. (Stand Nos. T.9 and T.22) [1]

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