History of Mossley Mill
There had been textile-related industries on the Mossley site since the 1700s but it was due to the Grimshaw family, well-established local cotton manufacturers, that flax spinning was introduced to Mossley. Edmund Grimshaw began the flax spinning business in 1834 and under his ownership the mill dam and chimney were created utilising water and steam power to run the mill machinery. The Campbell family purchased the mill in 1859 and continued expanding both the mill and the village, setting up a school, workers’ houses and a sports pavilion. Thread making was introduced to the business in the 1880s and expansion continued throughout the 1900’s with the arrival of synthetic threads and new manufacturing equipment.
In 1978 the company was sold to the London-based Hanson Trust. At this time, it was amalgamated with Barbour Threads of Hilden, near Lisburn. The resulting company was renamed Barbour Campbell Threads Ltd and all thread production was transferred to Hilden, while spinning remained at Mossley. In 1993, Mossley was bought by Herdmans flax spinners of Sion Mills, County Tyrone, and it finally closed in 1995.
The former flax spinning mill was saved from demolition when Newtownabbey Council bought it in 1996 and a major restoration and conversion project was begun. The aim was to retain an important element of local heritage whilst providing a modern and accessible working environment. The first phase of the mill site was converted to the Civic Headquarters and was officially opened by Prince Charles on 13 June 2000.
Work on Phase Two of the Mossley Mill Civic and Cultural development was completed with the opening of Museum at The Mill in October 2010. The project included the refurbishment of the remaining mill buildings to include the museum, additional offices and a conferencing and function centre ‘Meet at The Mill’. It also included the creation of Theatre at The Mill, a brand new state-of-the-art Community Arts and Cultural Centre designed to complement the existing Mill Buildings.
For more information on the history of Mossley Mill see the Council’s leaflet ‘Mossley Mill, A Short History’ available to download below.