Series 1 - Research

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Research

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SCA226-GA216-1

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  • 1946 (Creation)
    Creator
    Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Ltd.

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1 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Ltd. came into Hespeler in 1928 when the company purchased the R. Forbes Company Ltd. mill at what is now Queen St. West in Cambridge. The company would operate in Hespeler until 1959 when it went into receivership and was purchased by Silknit. As the largest woollens and worsteds mill in the British colonies at the time, the factory played a large role in the history of Hespeler, at one time employing almost one third of all citizens of the village.
During and immediately after WWII the mill employed a large number of female employees from both the Hespeler area as well as those who were brought in to work from Newfoundland and Northern Ontario. These women lived in boarding houses or dormitories provided by the mill and many of them stayed in Hespeler after the war, forever changing the village.
Production ceased permanently at the mill in 1984 and one third of it was destroyed shortly afterward in a fire. Today the portion of the mill that still stands is rented by retail stores.
In 1986 Kenneth McLaughlin and three graduate students began to conduct oral history interviews with workers from the mill who were still living in the region, including those women who came from Newfoundland and Northern Ontario.

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Scope and content

Series is comprised of a photocopy of one essay written by C.A. Panabaker written in 1946 entitled "One Hundred Years in Canadian Industry". The essay gives details on the history of the R. Forbes Company Ltd. mill, from 1888 to its purchase by Dominion Woollens and Worsteds in 1928.

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