Tread softly

Download this image

More from this collection

Related by Where

Research Help!

Where: Donegal, Ireland

Try to find the spot where the photographer was standing.

When: 01 January 1905

Try to find the date or year when this image was made.
Women hand tufting carpets in a factory in Killybegs, Co. Donegal.

Date: Circa 1905??

P.S. Don't you all dare run off before finishing your eccer here, but whatsthatpicture is looking for help on this photo that certainly could be somewhere in Ireland

NLI Ref.: L_ROY_09151

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 39803
carpetfactory handtufted carpets factory killybegs donegal ireland ulster machinery gears cogs women working benches oillamps lamps wool basket hessian sacking creel robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection glassnegative carpetworks limerickbybeachcomber nationallibraryofireland locationidentified 20thcentury

Add Tags
  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 08:37:20

    Although making carpets in Donegal is an ancient tradition, the company Donegal Carpets is but 100 odd years old and was founded in 1898 by Scottish textile manufacturer Alexander Morton. Before establishing Donegal Carpets, Morton had first established a carpet crafting house on the west coast of Ireland and put to practice the techniques of the Donegal people who had been working with wool for generations. The first example of a Donegal carpet with Celtic designs was that carried out for the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for their offices at the Cork Exhibition in 1902. There is another earlier example, a small Celtic-ornamented altar carpet, a Morton's gift to the St Eunan's Cathedral, Letterkenny County ,Donegal, which was opened in June 1901.The altar carpet was designed by Signor Oreste Amici, a roman painter, who carried out the Celtic ornamental painting in the St Columba Chapel in 1900. The Mortons sold the company to a consortium called Donegal Carpets Ltd. in 1957. There were four manufacturing houses at one time in County Donegal but three of the four facilities closed during The Great Depression and in 1987 the last facility closed. Local Donegal people petitioned the government to help re-open them in 1997 and in 1999 they were making carpets again for places such as Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin Castle and the University of Notre Dame. edit

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 05/Mar/2013 08:40:17

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Morning Danny! So do you think this is Donegal Carpets? And if so, where was it?

  • profile

    luca marella

    • 05/Mar/2013 08:40:54

    great document!

  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 08:52:55

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] Its Here

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 05/Mar/2013 08:55:13

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Excellent, thank you. Now added to map...

  • profile

    ccferrie

    • 05/Mar/2013 09:17:24

    Here's some "Now and Then" photos and a bit of history of the factory www.visitkillybegs.com/CarpetFactory.htm

  • profile

    ccferrie

    • 05/Mar/2013 09:18:23

    I posted this streetview of the outside of the factory but it disappeared on me - here it is again

  • profile

    Swordscookie

    • 05/Mar/2013 09:22:03

    I love it and the clarity of the image. There is so much to look and wonder at including the crude structure of the looms and the patterns pinned to the material to keep them in line. I take it the pieces of fluff are their material to insert as the hand tuft?

  • profile

    ccferrie

    • 05/Mar/2013 09:36:05

    The same machines today http://www.visitkillybegs.com/classified/carpetfactory4_lg.jpg" />

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 05/Mar/2013 10:01:23

    Outside photo from the Lawrence Collection shows extensive NE-facing skylights over this workroom , which must be behind the photographer - hence the good light (skylights no longer there according to streetview). Must have been cold in winter. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000318673/Image?lookfor=http:...

  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 10:12:10

    Here is a list of all Females living in Killybegs in 1901 and with a profession which includes "Carpet". With a little local involvement it should be possible to put some names on the people. I bet they are in this list! Carpet in profession females living in Killybegs 1901

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 05/Mar/2013 10:14:42

    A paragraph from the report of the Exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland (Freeman's Nov 21 1899)

    An important extension of an old industry is the artistic carpet making at Killybegs County Donegal. The examples that they send are so superior thay they are used as curtains to decorate the walls of the retrospective section of the exhibition. There are some very fine exhibits of poplins in curtains, tapestries, etc, some showing a new use for the fabric. The brocaded poplins are very beautiful.

  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 10:25:55

    Brigid Cunningham was working in the Factory in 1901 she was 12 yes twelve years old. www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000666796/ And there were 23 Carpet weavers living in this boarding house in 1901 www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000666755/ Andrew Struthers was manager of the Carpet Factory in 1901 www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000666754/

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 05/Mar/2013 10:30:37

    From Killybegs in 1901, there are 78 people with "Carpet" in their Occupation Only 44 in 1911. In both years, the manager was Andrew Struthers.

  • profile

    ccferrie

    • 05/Mar/2013 10:31:03

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] The age profile is fascinating - Hannah Gillespie, the youngest at 13 was one of 11 children and her two older sisters where also in the industry. www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000666564/ Presumably once they got married they left the factory.

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 05/Mar/2013 10:35:35

    The factory work contrasts with the description of the demonstration at the Irish Textile Exhibition (Freeman's Aug 20 1897):

    CARDING AND SPINNING In the same room are two spinners, Bella and Mary Shovlin, Killybegs, Co Donegal. One cards the wool which the other spins into threads on the old fashioned wheel. At home in Donegal they make 1s 6d on a continuous day's work which represents 9d each. In other words they spin 3lbs of wool, and are paid 6d per lb for it. The spinners go round to the farmers' houses spinning the wool and the flax, and the machinery that weaves the tweed weaves also the linens. The wools in all these homespuns made along the Western coast, from Donegal to Kerry, are died with vegetable dies extracted from mosses and briar roots by the peasantry.
    I wonder if these two gave up slogging their way from farm to farm and took their seats in the factory. Plenty of Shovlins in Donegal in the 1901 census (including 17 Marys), but no obvious matches for these two.

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 05/Mar/2013 11:21:24

    A description of an exhibit to be displayed at the Enach Tirconaill in an article in Freeman's Nov 11 1898:

    One of the most beautiful and costly exhibits at the Enach will be in connection with this stall. The magnificent Donegal Turkey carpet, the second made on the Killibeg looms by the deft hands of the Killybeg girls, is presented to his Lordship by the Messrs. Morton, of Ayrshire, the large-hearted founders of what promises, in its development, to form one of the most important industries, giving employment to several hundreds of hands in the South-West district, of which Killybegs is the centre. When a generous son of Alba has given such a valuable token of sympathy with the Enach, little wonder that every child of Donegal is full of enthusiasm for its complete success

  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 11:25:45

    Paul Larmour traces the development of the hand woven Donegal carpet, and attributes some of its designs to the famous Charles Voysey. Irish Art Review 1990 irishartsreview.com/irisartsreviyear/pdf/1990/20492648.pd...

  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 11:35:38

    William O'Doherty: MP for North Donegal, 1900-1905 O’Doherty was a promoter of cottage industries in rural districts of Donegal, and visited the St. Louis Exposition (also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair) as a parliamentary delegate in 1904, at the invitation of the American government. He met carpet weavers from Killybegs carpet factory who were present at the exhibition to provide demonstrations. As a representative of a city which had one of the largest centres for textiles in Europe, he was conscious of the demands of international markets and the threat posed by foreign competition to the large shirt-factories in Derry and the rural outstations in Donegal which depended on them

  • profile

    ccferrie

    • 05/Mar/2013 12:16:12

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner] My grandfather's cousins had a cottage industry in Dunlewey which survived into the middle of the 20th Century. Michael Ferry was a sheep farmer, his sister Sophie (Sadhbh) spun the wool and brother Manus was a weaver. Their home has been transformed into a visitor centre, Ionad Cois Locha.

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 05/Mar/2013 15:20:44

    I'm off to check a buke we have on the 1904 World's Fair, but if I could presume on your kindness - bit of a mystery postcard over on our Cinderella Flickr, if ye might be so inclined as to take a look...

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 05/Mar/2013 16:08:06

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Those carpet weavers the MP met were women! From page 30 of Part II - Irish Industrial Exhibition: World's Fair, St. Louis, 1904

    A few years ago not a carpet, rug or curtain was made in Ireland. Now the Donegal goods are known far and wide. In 1898 a Scotch firm, Messrs. Morton & Co., after consulting with the Congested Districts Board for Ireland, with their assistance took a loft and engaged 25 girls at Killybegs ... The workers proving their aptitude, the first factory was built. Demand increased, and a second factory was put up at Kilcar. At present two more factories are being erected, one at The Rosses and another at Glenties and 500 hands are now employed. All the workers are Irish with the exception of the foremen, who were introduced from Scotland. ... The process of manufacture is being carried on in the Industrial Hall by two Donegal girls.
    Imagine it, from Killybegs to St. Louis to demonstrate your craft at the World's Fair! Should have called this one "Meet Me in St. Louis"...

  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 17:07:05

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland Great Story - I wonder if they returned home or went AWOL??

  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 05/Mar/2013 17:10:20

    1904 – Irish Village, St. Louis World’s Fair archiseek.com/2012/1904-irish-village-st-louis-worlds-fair/ •A scaled verions of Old Irish House of Parliament served as a large restaurant (capacity of 2,000), and as the fairgrounds entrance to the village •St. Lawrence’s Gate at Drogheda was the entrance from the Pike. •Cormac’s Chapel •Blarney Castle was a theater for free performances – was heated and the largest theater on the fairgrounds, seated 1,800 •Village exhibits/shops featured fine exhibition of Irish linen, laces, and carpets •McKinlay Cottage, home of late President McKinley’s ancestors, was reproduced John McCormack, famous tenor, was featured Dublin's 60-piece Army band and other bands played on a bandstand

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 05/Mar/2013 17:16:23

    in 1897 Alexander Morton extended the profit-sharing scheme, which had been restricted to foremen, to all the workers in his lace-works in Ayrshire who had been with the firm for 5 years or more. It sounds to me like an unusually modern-sounding innovation - unusual enough to be mentioned in the Glasgow Herald and the Belfast Newsletter: "Profit sharing among employers and employed is rare enough to excite attention when any large firm adopts the system." I wonder if he introduced a similar scheme in Donegal?

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 05/Mar/2013 21:39:43

    lowering the discussion to carpet level -

    The Carpet limerick In Killybegs factory he spotted The girl with whom he's besotted. "Please show me your tuft." "No, go and get stuffed, Or certainly go and get knotted."

  • profile

    Swordscookie

    • 05/Mar/2013 21:43:35

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Boom boom!