Tait’s Clothing Factory: Flowers in the rubble.

In June last there was an ‘Open House’ event in Limerick City, showcasing the historically important Tait’s Clothing Factory, ahead of the redevelopment of the site, to provide much needed housing in this part of the city.

The site today

The site today

It was a great honour to stroll through this significant industrial heritage site of international importance. Opened in 1853, the clothing factory became the biggest clothing manufacturer in the world, supplying military uniforms to the British Army,the Canadian Volunteer Militia and to the Confederates in the American Civil War. Many hundreds of Limerick men and women were employed here, up to the time it closed in 1975.

Sir Peter Tait was born in Lerwick Scotland in the early 19th Century and arrived in Limerick to join his sister in 1838. He was an astute and successful business person who became Mayor of Limerick in  three successive years from 1866 to 1868. During his thirty years in the city Peter Tait provided employment to hundreds of people who serviced contracts for military uniforms.

On the day of my visit,at first sight, it appeared to be a desolate site, but on closer inspection I was pleased to see an abundance of wildflowers amid the rubble. I was struck by the similarities with the poppy fields of the world war battlefields, and could not help but think of these beautiful wildflowers as a testament to the men and women who sewed and stitched the uniforms that went to the Crimea and to the United States, many of which became shrouds for their unfortunate wearers.

These are a few of my snaps in memory of all of them. Tomorrow in Limerick, as part of Heritage Week, there will be a day long seminar on Tait’s Clothing Factory,past and future, entitled  ‘A Testament to Time’. These wildflowers are a testament to all those whose lives were affected by the work carried out here.

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17 Comments

Filed under American Civil War, Ireland, Ireland and the World, Irish at War, Irish Diaspora, Social History Ireland

17 responses to “Tait’s Clothing Factory: Flowers in the rubble.

  1. sarthure

    Thanks for that post. I had no idea that Taits even existed, let alone it being the biggest clothing manufacturer in the world.

  2. Crissouli

    How lovely to see so many flowers growing there… it gives life to the memories…

  3. You’re right. The flowers are a really poignant reminder of the factory’s past. Lovely post and images.

  4. SV, what an amazing history. Thanks very much for sharing it with us. The flowers speak volumes.

  5. What a connection with the flowers and the uniforms that went to war. Perhaps you could feel the spirits of the past among the flowers and buildings. Will the old buildings be kept somehow and serve as the foundation for the new housing? They must be sturdy. Interesting history.

  6. Always happy to see positive stories about Limerick – thank you!

  7. Love industrial archaeology and this is stunning SV. Hardly believable it was only abandoned in 1975.

  8. love this…so much has disappeared that we didnt know about…shared it on my page…thanks

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