John Andrews & Co. Ltd.


The firm of John Andrews & Co., flax spinners, was established by John Andrews of Comber (1782-1864) in 1863, building on an existing family business that had been in place since the late 18th century. Having already worked with his father in the firm, James Andrews & Sons from 1812, John Andrews, embarked upon the re-organisation of the company in the 1860s with the construction of a new mill, re-establishing the company under his own name with his sons, James, John and Thomas as partners. Thomas Andrews (1843-1916) took over the direction of the new company on the death of his father in 1864. Under his leadership, the family business continued to flourish, benefiting from the growing strength and specialisation of the linen industry in Ulster at this time (linen was a major driving force in the economic development of the region). The company was then enlarged in 1907. Thomas Andrews was succeeded as Chairman by his son, John Miller Andrews (1871-1956) in 1916, and with his increasing political commitments (J.M. Andrews eventually went on to serve as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1940-43), he was himself replaced in 1927 by his son, John Ormrod, as Managing Director of John Andrews & Co. Ltd. The company continued operations as a flax-spinning mill until 1997, when falling demand finally brought about its closure. See Also: "Nine generations: a history of the Andrews family, millers of Comber, " edited by John Burls from the manuscript of Sydney Andrews (1958)