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    Main Street Celbridge Co Kildare

  • The History of The Mill

  • Historic photo of The Mill

    The Mill at Celbridge

    Have you ever wondered about the history of the great building that surrounds you at The Mill? You can find out all out it here!

    The earliest reference to a mill in Celbridge was in 1217, which was to be The Manor Mill of Kildrought, built by the local Norman lord, Thomas de Hereford. It was a corn and tuck mill where the tenants brought their corn to be ground and their wool to be woven into fabric. The Mill continued as such, in different buildings, until the late 17th century, when it was converted to a flour mill, brewing and textile company.

    In 1598, William Dongan of Castletown was granted permission to convert the Tuck Mill, which he had recently built, into a corn mill. The mill premises then included two mills and a water millrace.

    In 1688, Bartholomew Van Homrigh of Celbridge Abbey took ownership of the mill and he leased it to John Evans, a flour miller, at a yearly rent of £41.

    The first reference to the textile industry in the mill was in 1782, when John Gregg, a thread maker, leased the premises.

    In 1804, Laurence Atkinson came to Celbridge from Yorkshire to open the “largest wool manufacturing in Ireland”, employing 600 people. The factory was very successful at first but then faced financial difficulties and closed in 1837. King George IV visited The Mill in August 1821.

    The factory was reopened afterwards for flax spinning, flour milling, as a forge and as a timber and hackle shed. By 1879, the flax and flour ill had closed and the population of Celbridge plummeted to just 800 people.

    In 1903, William Callender, an American, set up a factory in the mill to make paper from peat. This industry employed 50 people and specialised in producing wrapping paper and postcards. However, the business failed just a short time later in 1906.

    Thomas Copperton established the Leinster Hand Weaving company in 1934. He sourced his wool both abroad and locally which was then dyed, carded and woven into cloth. The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1937.

    In 1939, Barney Reynolds purchased the mill and was the first Irishman to take possession of the mill in 140 years. Barney was the owner of a Dublin company called Irish Gowns Ltd., the largest manufacturer of ladies’ wear in Ireland. At full capacity, Celbridge Mills employed 500 people making ladies’ coast and dresses until it closed in 1953 due to financial difficulties.

    Navan Carpets acquired the premises in 1956 and traded until 1982 when the factory closed resulting in the loss of 218 jobs at the site. The closure of Navan Carpets marked the end of two centuries of intermittent wool production at Celbridge and about 30 changes in ownership of the mill since 1217.

    Celbridge Community Council purchased The Mill in 1982 for £160,000 with the intention of providing enterprise units, a public amenity and recreational facilities for the Celbridge area. Celbridge Community Centre Ltd. was established in 1983 with directors Gay Boylan, Mairead Byrne, Michael Martin, Vincent Walsh and John Whelan acting as guarantors of the loan.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Celbridge Community Centre Ltd. has been operating and maintaining this historical landmark in north Kildare as The Mill we all know today since the early 1980’s. Today the centre accommodates 24 business units, meeting, leisure and educational rooms, a sports centre complete with gym, sauna and steam room. The team of the Celbridge Community Centre Ltd. manage this wonderful facility for all of the people of Celbridge.

    The Mill has been serving the needs of Celbridge for over 800 years, why not drop in and see what it has to offer you today?

     

    The Mill Community Centre – Hydroelectricity & Our Dedication to the Environment

     

    Although the earliest reference made to a mill at Celbridge was in 1217, it was not until the 16th century that water from the river Liffey was used to power Celbridge Mill and its various processes.

    In 1783, a water wheel was erected for the textile factory which was further enhanced in 1805 when Laurence Atkinson installed a 200-horsepower wheel.

    The first hydroelectric turbine was installed in 1903 by William Callender, who manufactured paper from peat. When he purchased the mill in 1939 Barney Reynolds had the mill race dredged, the weir recapped and in 1940 he had an 80-kilowatt Scott generator fitted.

    This 80-kilowatt generator was purchased from Laurence Scott Ltd. of Norwich, one of the oldest and most reputable electrical machinery manufacturers in England. This development allowed for light and heat within the mill complex driven by the river Liffey.

    Unfortunately, over time it fell into disrepair and was out of commission by 1982 when Celbridge Community Centre purchased the site. It is now kept in exhibition order in the mill powerhouse as it is an important piece of history. Scott generators, such as the one at the Celbridge Mill, were used to power The Titanic, as recent underwater wreck sit photographs have confirmed.

    In 1990, Gay Boylan, one of the founding directors and Chairman of Celbridge Community Centre Ltd., initiated a proposal to install a new hydroelectric system at The Mill. This project came to fruition in 1993 when a new vertical water turbine was designed, built and installed by Belton Engineering Works.

    The new system consists of a 55-kilowatt Brook generator and a David Brown gearbox system with a water turbine. Today it provides electricity for The Mill itself and any surplus is fed into the national grid.

    The Celbridge Mill hydroelectric station is one of 54 hydroelectric stations around the country which generate 6% of Ireland’s electrical generating capacity, as such, it is listed on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website.

    We are delighted to be able to harness the power of our unique heritage to help provide a sustainable source of energy for our community centre and do our bit for the environment!