Dublin City Council began a first phase of work last summer to conserve and restore Kilmainham Mill, thought to be the last surviving mill building in the city. The ambition for the Mill is to create a new cultural hub and destination in Kilmainham.
The enabling work, which is being led by Howley Hayes Cooney Architects together with structural engineers, an archaeologist, ecologists and industrial heritage specialists, has focused on making the site safe ahead of a longer-term restoration plan. Work has included propping of floors and roofs, the removal of asbestos from the site, the removal of Japanese knotweed, and the protection of industrial machinery.
The enabling works have also thrown up many fascinating details of the working life of the Mill and items of salvaged industrial heritage.
The ornate letterhead of Charles H Bates & Co is one such find. Bates was a Huddersfield cloth shrinker who took over the defunct flour mill at Kilmainham in 1904 and set up a textile finishing works. The firm continued to operate until it was replaced by Weavers Shed Ltd in 1973.
The letterhead shows how the mill was powered before the advent of electricity. It was originally driven by the waterwheel fed from the Cammock River. The chimney signifies the steam engine which was installed by an earlier owner William Brophy as a back-up when he took over the then-flour mill from Patrick Dowling in the 1860s.
Others historic materials salvaged have included machinery, cloth and paper records.
Roof repairs will continue to all areas of the mill complex along with the recording and protection of items of industrial heritage. All windows will be secured and screened, and safe walkways installed. This will make the work site safe and secure fro the next stage of work.
Dublin City Council has also commissioned an updated conservation plan for the complex now that all areas are accessible. And the process of developing a long term reuse and restoration strategy and engaging with wider stakeholders in the community will begin later in 2023.