School History






History_of Castlebar

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More Third Class Stories.....
Our Local History.

The Hat Factory

The Hat Factory was built in 1939. Auguste Koettegen was the architect of the Hat Factory. It was built four months before World War 2 on Alice Quinn's field on the Newport Road. There was at least 300 people employed in the Hat Factory. On the day it was officially opened they rang the hooter for about a hour. This hooter could be heard as far out as Islandeady. It was blown several times a day. Two Germans built a huge chimney. And to show the people of Castlebar how hard they worked they danced around the rim. The conditions were very poor. Many young workers went to Belgium to be taught how to use the machines.

When the hat factory was built in 1939 it was an astonishing achievement for it's time. They had a great deal of light in the factory, the light shone in from all the windows. They used the windows so they wouldn't have to use so much electricity. The chimney was a great highlight of the factory and stood 300 feet high. The Wool The wool all came from South Africa and Australia. It came in big massive barrels and left in the store-room until needed. The pounding machine made the wool soft and as flaky as snow. The pounding made it easier to use the wool on the hats. When we were down in the hat factory itself Ernie showed us where the storeroom was and where they stored the wool. The storeroom was just above the entrance of the factory. From my view the storeroom looked like a long rectangular building. The Chimney Two Germans built the chimney when the hat factory was being built. When they were finished they danced around the rim. It built up to 300 feet high. Also the chimneystack was 120 feet high. There was underground tunnel leading the person to the chimney to feed it. The bricks for the chimney came from Belgium. They were specially made to close in so all you had to do was go around in circles putting the bricks on top of each-other.When we were down in the factory Ernie found a piece of the chimney and gave it to our teacher.

The Dye Room.

The dye room was at the back of the hat factory. The dye room was very dangerous because they used acid. They had to use clogs when around acid to protect themselves. The clogs were made in the carpentry room. The dye that wasn't needed would go out a big pipe and into the river near the factory. And if you looked at the river you would see it had changed colour. And since they made such a wide variety of hats it would be a different colour every day. The reason they used acid was because if any insects got into the hat the acid would wash them out. They couldn't touch the acid because if they did they would burn themselves badly. A lot of people were hurt because they had a hard job.

The Carpentry Room.

The carpentry room was very handy because they didn't have to go and buy something new. Instead they fixed it or made it. There were two people working in the carpentry room. It was on the right hand side of the factory. So if a piece broke off one of their trucks they would pick up the piece and fix it. They had their own tools and if a piece got lost they had spare pieces. They had to make many things like tyres or clogs and more. If there was a hole in one of the pipes they would take out the broken one and replace it with a new one. They also made baths for the workers to put acid in.

The Store Room

They kept the hoods in an underground storeroom. So they could be kept damp. So they could be stretched to a length it had to be. The underground storeroom would make a good bomb-shelter. They made a lot of money from making Stetsons because they were very valuable back then. They got the contract for making Berets from the Irish Army.

The Bacon Factory.

It all started on New Antrim Street. It then advanced on to a farmer's co-op where the coal depot is now and then on to Lord Lucan's farmyard. He also ended up as the manager. The Bacon Factory started off very small but eventually got bigger and bigger until everybody in Castlebar came and it turned into a big co-operation. My Auntie worked in the offices of the bacon factory. Farmers brought pigs from all over the country and you obviously know what they did with them. "Yes" they slaughtered them and took them by the ear and chopped then hung them on the chain dipped them into the boiling hot water to cook them. The bad thing about the chains is it is possible to be killed and a man was killed he was poisoned from a hook hanging from a chain stuck into his leg. The boilers were also a problem because it was also possible to be killed.

The products they sold were lamb chops, rashers, steak, pork, beef, turkeys, chickens, bone meal, pigs ribs, canned meat black pudding and white pudding. One of the products I mentioned "bonemeal" eventually it was banned because of the mad cow disease. It was about 1992-1993 when the bone meal was banned.

The bacon factory had their own butcher shop in the front of the factory their finest meat was sold very cheaply in this butcher shop. The bacon factory took up nearly the whole cinema the whole bowling alley and buildings all around it. By Paul R

The Bacon Factory

The factory was hard to manage during the war. It was because of all the supplies all being used and very little to take. They sent canned meat over the country to help people during the war. The way they killed the pigs they hung them and dropped them into boiling hot water. That was around where the go karting was. The entrance of the factory was just about the where the cinema is today. The conditions in the factory in the factory were very bad. One half was dusty and the other half was nice and warm because of the boiler room. The canteen was located opposite of the bowling alley entrance, beside Moran's house. The kind of animals that were brought in were cattle cows pigs and sheep. They had their own set of red vans parked outside and were very proud of them. The Bacon Factory took up about the space of the cinema the bowling alley and most of the buildings outside it. It was enourmous! Also there was great privacy in the toilets. This was just one of the bad conditions. Paul R.

The Bacon Factory

The Bacon Factory was built on Lord Lucan's yard. It started off small on New Antrim St. selling pigs. It was a small co-op with lots of farmers, but eventually got bigger. Then they moved it to where the cinema now stands and turned it into a Bacon Factory. People started working young at about 13 or 14 they died young because of the conditions. You could even use the bladder as a football. But it only lasted a week. Some people lost their eyes because they through the fat at each other. You didn't get to go to school and you only got paid a pound a month. The conditions were very bad because of the heat coming from the boiler room. They had very bad eating conditions from the guts of the pigs. They killed the pigs by grabbing their ear and slicing their heads open. They killed the cows by hanging them up on a chain and shot their head with a shotgun or cut it off with a chainsaw. They also sold turkeys.

There was a building where the pieces of the animals weren't needed was thrown into a fire, and after the fire was over a man would drink the blood. But the man died because he had too much blood. They put all the left overs of the dead animals into a big boiler. Sadly a man was poisoned when a hook went into his leg.

They sold: chickens, turkeys, canned meat, bone meal, rashers, lamb chops, beef, steak. They had their own butcher shop at the front of the factory. The bone meal was banned because of mad cow disease in 1993. By James C. and Rory W.