THE company which has done more than any
other to shape the fortunes of Lisburn for over two centuries
will close its doors for the last time on Friday.
The machines have already fallen silent for
the last time at Barbour Threads as production at Hilden Mill
ended after 222 years.
It was an emotional day for the remaining
staff as the final spool of thread was produced on Wednesday at
the factory that has been a part of the history of Lisburn for
over two centuries.
There are few families in Lisburn who have
not been touched by Barbour Threads, with many generations
working in the factory over the years.
However, this week that momentous history
came to an end as the company prepared to - close for the last
To mark the momentous occasion the Mill Horn,
which has not been used for many years, will sound at 12 noon on
Friday as the last shift leaves the factory.
Barbour Threads was first opened by John
Barbour in 1784 and moved to its current site in 1823. At one
time it employed some 2,000 people. However, today only a
handful of people remain to oversee the final days of the Hilden
Factory Manager Robert McCracken, who has
worked at the mill for 37 years, said it was a very emotional
day for everyone when the last spool was produced on Wednesday
"It really is the end of an era" he said.
To mark the poignant moment in history, the
final King Spools manufactured in Lisburn were presented to
Brian Mackey from Lisburn Museum, and will remain as a poignant
reminder of Lisburn's manufacturing history.
"I am glad that there is a little bit being
left in Lisburn for posterity," said Robert. "There will be
something to remind future generations of Barbour Threads and
its 222 year history in Lisburn.
"It has always been a family orientated
business and generations of families have worked here.
Mackey receives the last thread produced
at Hilden Mill from
Robert McCracken of Barbour Threads.
|The longest serving
worker in Barbour Threads, Donald
Houston, who has worked there for 42
years with Robert McCracken of Barbour
Threads. US21-131A0 Picture By: Aidan
"To have the last spool presented to the museum
is very significant," he added. Brian Mackey from Lisburn Museum
was delighted to accept the final spool of thread from Barbour
"Over the years we have acquired a lot of
artefacts from Barbours so we will add this to the collection,"
"It will go on display in the museum, stating
that it was the last spool to be produced in Lisburn after 222
As work ends at Barbour Threads and a new era
of development begins with plans for new homes which will see
500 new residents in the next 10 years.
Robert spoke for many when he said: "Barbour's
history is Lisburn's history."