Former Ranks workers

Reception to be held for Former Rank Workers and their families to mark important archive donation


Press Release
Friday, October 1st 2010


Former workers of Ranks Mills and their families are invited to attend a reception on Tuesday, October 12th by Limerick City Council to mark the donation of an important archive collection to the City.

The collection of Cecil Mercier, a former Mills Manager in Ranks for over forty years has been kindly donated to the Limerick City Archives.

Cecil Mercier worked in the Limerick Milling Industry for 43 years and was well known to generations of Ranks workers.

City Archivist, Jacqui Hayes said Limerick City Council is inviting all former Ranks workers and their families to a reception to mark this historic donation as the mill had such an impact on the development of Limerick.

“Limerick had a long tradition in the milling industry, dating back to the thirteenth century and during the 18th century the city was at the forefront of the milling industry in Ireland, “ Jacqui explained.

She added: “The acquisition of the Limerick Mills by Ranks in 1930 was controversial as Ranks was a British company but during the Emergency, it was the biggest or second biggest flour mill in the state and provided very valuable food stuff through the war years even though supplies of wheat and electricity were low.”

Ranks was profitable during the 1960s but in the 1970s the company began to lose market share as Ireland’s accession to the EEC opened up the Irish flour market to cheap imports.  Rank eventually closed in 1983 to a wave of anger in the city and strikes and sit-ins among the workers.

“The closure of Ranks of Limerick ended 700 years of milling in the city and its closure came to symbolise the city’s decline as an industrial centre in the 1980s,” continued Jacqui Hayes.

“Yet Ranks was not forgotten, it is still fondly remembered by its former employees and their families. The mills also provided the city with an example of a company that not only provided for its employees and benefitted the local economy but also a model of how a company, in a variety of ways can contribute to, and enhanced the local economy.”

It’s also hoped that a large exhibition about Ranks and industrial Limerick will take place in early 2012.

A variety of documents and photographs from Cecil Mercier’s collection will be displayed at the reception which will take place at 6pm on Tuesday, October 12th in City Hall, Merchant’s Quay, Limerick.
Those who wish to attend may register their interest by phoning 061-407293 or emailing  Former employees and their families can also just go along to City Hall on the night.  


For further media information or to arrange media interviews, please contact Laura Ryan, Communications Executive, Limerick Co-Ordination Office, 88 O’Connell Street, Limerick 061-400010/086-6042544

Last update:06/10/2010