Spade Mill

This original spade mill was built in the 1850s and comes from the townland of Derry, near Coalisland in County Tyrone.  The mill was operated by the Patterson family until the 1950s: they were prominent spade mill owners in Ulster whose family connections with the craft spanned five generations.

Between 1800 and 1900 in Ireland, the spade was the most common tool of cultivation.  Ulster spades had welded sockets and the spade maker was a skilled craftsman able to make up to 120 varieties of spade, in up to five sizes. Differences in spade types were determined by soil conditions, the job in hand and local traditions.

The Ulster Folk Museum was created to preserve a rural way of life in danger of disappearing forever due to increasing urbanisation and industrialisation in Northern Ireland.  It celebrates all aspects of our culture including many elements of Ulster-Scots heritage.