Recalling Derry’s once booming shirt factory industry

A shirt factory in Derry in the 1920s.
A shirt factory in Derry in the 1920s.

Two workshops in Derry this week will provide an opportunity to reminisce about Derry’s once booming shirt factory industry.

The Tower Museum will be holding free Shirt Factory Reminiscence events for local groups as part of Dementia Awareness Week.
They will take place on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said it would be a great opportunity to relive memories of the shirt factory days.

“I think this is a fantastic way for older people to revisit what were challenging but also very happy times for people living and working in the city.

“The shirt factories were so much more than just places of work, they were vibrant communities where women not only supported their families, but also established life-long friendships.”

She added: “The workshops will offer the chance to reconnect with the era and reignite memories using the wonderful museum collections and listen to stories, view the Museum’s loan box and sit back and enjoy a cup of tea while listening to old stories of the era.

“I would really encourage local groups to come along.”

Assistant Education and Access Officer with the Tower Museum, Betty Doherty, said: “The shirt factories had such a huge impact on the social heritage and community development of the city.

“We have a fantastic collection of machines, shirts, bobbins, photographs and all sorts of fantastic bits and pieces that will get people talking.

“We would encourage interested groups to get in touch for the morning sessions, and on Friday afternoon we invite the general public to come in and learn more about the factories, and we would love former workers to come in and share their stories.”

This is a free event with Group Workshops available by appointment on Thursday and Friday morning by contacting the Tower Reception on 02871372411.

The event will be open free to the public on Friday May 19 in the afternoon.