Four brothers from
Belfast, James, John and George Herdman, built the mill in 1835 to complement
the flax spinning business in Sion Mills. They aimed to create a ‘moral,
temperate, educated, non-sectarian community’ where, at its height, 1,500 flax
mill workers were employed and the work continued for 170 years, ending in 2004
with the mill’s closure. In October 2010 a derelict part of the Sion Mills was
gutted by fire
Quoted as being the
most important industrial building in Ireland, the Sion Mills Preservation Trust
have maintained the mill and the other historic buildings in the complex and now
fear that this building may be too fire damaged to repair.
Earlier in July, the
boarded up old Sion Mills pub was badly damaged by fire, thought to be arson,
and a few years ago the tower part of the nunnery complex was fire damaged too.