Chillingworth & Levie Exhibition

- A Cork City and County Archives Exhibition supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht -

Industrial Buildings

The industrial commissions of Chillingworth & Levie are amongst the strongest examples of their modernist work. In 1932 the firm designed an extension on Oliver Plunkett Street for Eagle Printers, one of the larger Cork printers based on South Mall. The proposal comprised four storeys with horizontal bands

of multi-paned glazing, punctuated by vertical panels to the chamfered corner and side, with a play on the company name in the signs and flagpole crest. This scheme was never built. However, when an entirely new factory was required on the opposite site in 1950, it was based on the earlier design with horizontal bands of glazing and parapet on a block that is wrapped around a corner.

Detail of the front elevation to Smith Street, working drawings for Eagle Printers, pencil on tracing paper, Chillingworth & Levie, 1932, 67 x 50cm, Cork City and County Archives

One of the firm’s most attractive buildings is the former National Flour Mills on Kennedy Quay. The three-storey

Detail of front elevation of Odlums (former National Flour Mills), Kennedy Quay, Cork, courtesy the NIAH

base was designed by James F. McMullen (1859-1933) as a grain store in 1892. In 1934 Chillingworth & Levie were commissioned to convert and extend the building for a new mill.

The glazed upper section was added to the original stores, with an audaciously contrasting style, where the ratio of solid wall to void glass is inverted. Yet there is also continuity in the use of a dividing pilaster through both levels. The stylized wheat reliefs of the central section, the separating bands of limestone, and the use of brick strips to highlight the corner and central areas are noteworthy.

Rear and side elevation of AXA (former Eagle Printers) built 1950, Oliver Plunkett Street and Smith Street, Cork, photograph taken by Louise Harrington

Detail of postcard of the National Flour Mills, Victoria Quay, during World War II, Cork City and County Archives

Blackwater Cottons, Youghal, built in 1952, is quite different in its treatment to either the mills or the printing works. The building comprises a two-storey Art Deco front and a large production area to the rear with a saw-tooth roof. The two sections of the façade intersect at a tripartite entrance in three separate blocks of one, one-and-a-half and two storeys. The contrasting upright and curved bands give the Art Deco quality to the entrance which also features a low-relief sculpture by Seamus Murphy (1907-1975). The factory was established by William Dwyer, the founder of Sunbeam & Wolsey Textiles who came from the great family of Cork drapers and manufacturers.

Detail of the upper level corner of the Odlums Mills (former National Flour Mills), courtesy the NIAH

Photograph of ‘a lady working at Silkhose’ at the Sunbeam and Wolsey Factory, Cork, Cork City and County Archives

Detail of front elevation to the former Blackwater Cottons Factory, Youghal, photograph taken by Louise Harrington

Advert for the National Flour Mills, Guy’s City and County Cork Almanac and Directory for 1940, Cork City and County Archives

Entrance to the former Blackwater Cottons Factory, Youghal, photograph taken by Louise Harrington

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