Once the World’s leading centre for shirt making

The Star Factory was built in 1899 for The Messrs. Bayer Company. Between 1880 and the 1920s Derry was the principal seat of the shirt industry in the British Isles and exported its products throughout the World. This industry employed more workers in the city than all of the other industries put together. By 1926, when the population in Derry was 45,000, there were 44 shirt factories employing 8,000 full-time workers and thousands more in the supply chain. In 1857 the Tillie and Henderson Company had already built the largest shirt factory in the World here. Most of the workers were women and girls who worked an average of 51 hours per week. After the Great Depression of 1929, World War II and cheaper imports from Asia and India the shirt making industry went into a terminal decline.