The Caledon Beam Engine is all that remains of Caledon Woollen Mill which was demolished in in 1985. The Beam Engine is an impressive example of Ireland’s industrial archaeology and is unique in the sense that it is the last remaining housed Beam Engine in Ireland and so is of immense historical importance.
This project was part funded through South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) under Axes 3 and 4 of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 by the European union and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). Further support was granted by the Earl of Caledon, NIEA, Caledon Regeneration Partnership and the Esme Mitchell Trust.
On June 26, 2013, Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, officially opened the building.
In 2012, Caledon Regeneration Partnership commenced a 3-phase restoration in Mill Street with Phase 1 – the refurbishment of the engine house completed in 2013. Phase 2, starting within the next few months, will involve the refurbishment of the Wool Store saving this important building from further deterioration and provide a revenue stream for Phase 3 which will encompass the refurbishment of the Caledon Beam Engine, the last remaining housed beam engine in Ireland and the creation of an educational/interpretative centre focusing on heritage and conservation.
The mills are an important element both of the industrial heritage and social history of this part of Ulster. This early industrialisation transformed landscapes and featured prominently in the histories of many local families. To many in the local community with an ancestral connection to Caledon Mill, the Wool Store is one of the few remaining tangible links.