Mulholland, Andrew (DNB00)

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MULHOLLAND, ANDREW (1791–1866), cotton and linen manufacturer, born at Belfast in 1791, came of an old Ulster family. His father, Thomas, was in 1819 head of Messrs. Thomas Mulholland & Co., a firm of cotton manufacturers of Union Street, Belfast (cf. Belfast Directory, 1819, p. 52). Andrew was posted in this firm, which, on the death of his father, was carried on by himself and a brother under the title of Messrs. T. & A. Mulholland. On 10 June 1828 their cotton mill in York Street was burnt down. No machinery had yet been introduced into the manufacture of linen at Belfast, but Andrew had observed that the supply of yarns made by hand was quite insufficient to meet the demands of the Belfast spinners, and that quantities of flax were shipped across to Manchester to be spun and reimported as yarn. He accordingly determined in 1828 to set up flax-spinning machinery in a small mill in St. James's Street, and subsequently devoted the rebuilt mill in York Street to the same purpose. The first bundle of flax yarns produced by machinery in Belfast was thrown off in 1830 from the York Street mill; Messrs. Murland, however, dispute priority with the Mulhollands in the introduction of machinery. After his brother Thomas's death Andrew carried on the business single-handed. For some years he enjoyed with very profitable results almost a monopoly in the new industry which he had set on foot, and the firm still remains one of the principal concerns in Belfast. On the grant of a corporation to Belfast in 1842 Andrew became a member of it, was mayor in 1845, and presented the town with the organ in Ulster Hall at a cost of 3,000l. In 1860 he retired to Springvale, Ballywalter, co. Down, and subsequently became justice of the peace, deputy-lieutenant, and served as high sheriff for Down and Antrim. He died on 24 Aug. 1866 at Springvale, aged 73. He married in 1817 Eliza, daughter of Thomas McDonnell of Belfast. His eldest son, John (b. 1819), assisted Cobden in his negotiation of a commercial treaty with Napoleon III in 1860, entered parliament as member for co. Down in 1874, sat for Downpatrick 1880–5, and was in 1892 raised to the peerage of the United Kingdom under the title of Baron Dunleath of Ballywalter.

[Belfast Weekly News, Weekly Press, and Northern Whig for 1 Sept. 1866; J. H. Smith's Belfast and its Environs, p. 57; Belfast Directory, 1819; British Manufacturing Industries, p. 77, &c.; Charley's Flax and its Products in Ireland, pp. 36, 92, 124; Sharp's Flax, Tow, and Jute Spinning; Warden's Linen Trade, Ancient and Modern, p. 404; Foster's Peerage, 1893; information received from Baron Dunleath.]

A. F. P.