The City Factory

Peter McIntyre who came from Scotland to work for William Scot and Adam Hogg who managed Tillie and Henderson’s factory, started their own shirt making business on Foyle Street in 1853. Like William Scott had done before them, McIntrye & Hogg also used an outworkers system of having the majority of the work done in the workers homes. With the high level of experience that McIntrye & Hogg had it didn’t take long for their business to take off and it became necessary to open a warehouse in London on Addle Street to deal with the demand.

When the Sewing machine was introduced the centralised factory system that was used in Tillie and Henderson’s factory became necessary. In 1857, McIntrye & Hogg adopted the centralised system but it wasn’t long before their factory in Foyle Street became too small to handle it. To further grow the business they needed a larger factory so they had this building known as the City Factory built and moved their business to it in 1864. The building was a very modern a large building for its time, it was designed by Robert Young an architect from Belfast and built by local contractor William Mc Clelland.

Over the years the company formed by McIntrye & Hogg grew rapidly and they opened factories in London and other parts of the UK. New Partners joined the business; Henry Powell in 1868, and in 1884 JP McIntyre (Peter McIntyre's eldest son) and HJ Marsh, joint managers of the London Warehouse, the company then became known as McIntyre Hogg Marsh & Co. The company which went from humble beginnings in Derry was not only supplying a large number of shirts across the UK but was also exporting to Australia, South Africa and the East & West Indies.

In 1904, the size of the City Factory was doubled and in 1907, the firm started trading under the name “Radiac”. During and after the First World War, restrictions were imposed on the shirt industry and a major recession damaged many industries but the company bounced back in the 1920’s and survived the 2nd World War by producing shirts for the forces. As with most industries, acquisitions and conglomeration happened throughout the 20th century with the shirt industry. McIntyre Hogg Marsh & Co Ltd merged with English Sewing Cotton Ltd & Tootal Ltd and later adopted the well-known Tootal Men’s Wear trading name, then eventually was acquired by Coats Viyella and dissolved in 1991.

The City Factory is still standing and in good condition, it has been renovated and converted into 90,000 Square feet of office space by Martin Property Group. It is currently let to several businesses including One Source Virtual, The Mod Squad, Meta-compliance, Learning Pool, HyPixel Studios and FinTru. In 2021, a plaque was unveiled outside the former factory by Friends of the Factories to honour the women that worked hard in the factory during its years of operation.

Factory Girls
For almost a century the city’s economy depended on shirt making and at its peak there was 44 shirt factories that employed more people than all other industries in the city combined. This mural in the Craft Village is dedicated to the workers in the shirt factories “the Factory Girls” and was painted by UV Arts.
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