Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Ltd.

Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Ltd.
Oral History Interviews. - 1946-1986.

27 cm of textual records.

View full finding aid of Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Ltd (PDF)

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.


The fonds consists of materials relating to the oral history interviews that were conducted, as well as final reports that were created based on the subject. This includes transcripts of twenty one interviews and accompanying appendices, three student reports on the project and related themes, a photocopy of an essay detailing the history of the mill pre Dominion and a file of miscellaneous materials.

Arranged in five series:

  1. Research;
  2. Interviews;
  3. Student Reports;
  4. Appendices;
  5. Miscellaneous.


  • Title from content of the fonds.
  • The extent is measured in linear metres of shelf space occupied by the fonds.
  • Donated by Kenneth McLaughlin. Original 25 year restriction on the interviews has now expired.
  • DVDs relating to project are expected to be donated at a later date.

Call number: GA 216

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