Plans unveiled to mark 200th anniversary of the foundation of Shrigley mill village

Plans unveiled to mark 200th anniversary of the foundation of Shrigley mill village

8 May 2024

PLANS have been revealed for a year of celebrations in Shrigley to mark the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the mill village.

The village was founded in 1824 by John Martin who built a paternalistic, model village around his linen mill, at the time one of the biggest in Great Britain.

A group has been working behind the scenes to develop a programme of events for all ages to mark the occasion, with the final go ahead for the plans for the 200th anniversary given at a well attended meeting on Thursday night in the Bridge Centre in Killyleagh.

The chairman of the Shrigley 200 group Shrigley-born Fr Brian Watters said: “We would like to highlight the importance Shrigley had as a model village when it was first established in 1824 and to make sure the younger generations of today are aware of the story of Shrigley with John Martin and the importance of the Utitz family in reinvigorating Shrigley with the tannery in the late 1930’s. 

“We would like to engage with people scattered all over the world who lived or worked in Shrigley.’’ 

The highlight will be a `Back to Shrigley Day’ for people with a connection to the village from all over the world, returning to Shrigley on Saturday, August 10.

On the same day, a sports day will be held for children, organised along the lines of that held in the past by the late Essie Oakes and the village committee.

The weekend will also feature events including music, bingo and an exhibition on old Shrigley. As there is no longer a village hall, this will take place in a specially erected marquee.

The tannery years will also be recalled, with the group working with the Jewish community to honour the pioneers of the tannery who saved the village in 1939. 

This will be the first celebration event, and will be held later this month.

Shrigley 200 secretary Chris Hagan explained: “There is an open invitation to anyone with a connection to the tannery, which operated from 1939 to 2004, to attend. We are hoping that representatives of the original Jewish families will be present.

“Of course we are keen that villagers also come along when we will unveil a plaque to honour the Utitz and Weiniger families. Full details of the time and date will be released shortly.’’

Other suggestions being progressed for later in the year are a “virtual village” mapping of the old village to allow families to plot families living in the original village, permanent photo/history display for visitors to the village, history walking trails, recording the stories of the original residents of the old village and involving schoolchildren in recording the mill song `Farewell to dear old Shrigley’.