The Clayton brothers arrived in Navan in 1867, from a successful milling family in Yorkshire and by 1882 had built 14 houses at Millbrook Terrace to accommodate their growing number of employees. The firm further expanded to take over the old cotton mill at Stackallen. At one point they employed over 250 staff and were one of the largest employers in the town.
The serge and khaki fabric produced at the factory were used in military uniforms for the Second world war. The Irish Free State Army’s uniforms were also made with Clayton’s serge with records showing that 25,000 yards of fabric were ordered in July 1940.
There were orders too for 20 bundles of grey worsted and 102 bundles of black worsted for the Artane Industrial School in Dublin.
The Clayton Archive holds minutes and agendas, wage books and correspondence as well as objects such as signage and fabric samples.
In this project Meath County Archive are working with conservators to repair a set of 9 minute books and 7 wages books from the company. These books are an important part of the collection showing the weekly recordings of the company. Over many years of use the bindings have weakened and pages loosened with damage from damp storage conditions. Conservation will ensure they are saved from further degradation.
Another strand of the project focuses on the listing of correspondence of the company. These letters give a full picture of the importance of the business on a national stage and give detailed accounts of business affairs in Ireland in the 19th and 20th century.
These projects have the potential to open up the collection and allow researchers the opportunity to engage with their heritage.