Introduction to the Andrews' Mill Papers
The Andrews Mill papers comprise 544 volumes relating to the flax spinning mill in Comber, Co. Down, and 55 volumes pertaining to the various Andrews family farms and estates, Cos Down, Cavan and Kilkenny. Once the volumes had ceased to be of administrative use they had been placed in the attics above the mill offices for safekeeping and there they had remained relatively undisturbed. The archive was uplifted in its entirety from the attics during the summer of 1997, and transported to PRONI in two van loads. This massive business archive, perhaps one of the biggest in PRONI, provides a unique insight into the life not only of a major manufacturing company but a whole community.
The archive has been divided into two principal sections comprising: records of Andrew flax spinning mill, Comber (D4189/A-D); and farm books (D4189/E). Before describing the archive and the wealth of information recorded within it, it may be helpful to give a brief introduction of the family which created it. The Andrews family loom large in the history of the mill and of the town of Comber, which to a large extent is a mill village, dominated by the spinning mill which was the major source of employment in the town.