Located in the industrial north end of Hamilton, Canada, the Cotton Factory at 270 Sherman Avenue North, remains as a historic industrial complex that was formerly known as a cotton mill named The Imperial Cotton Company Limited. Today, the complex has been renamed the Cotton Factory and is owned and managed by The Dabbert Group with the purpose of cultivating a community for creative professionals.
The five buildings which together constitute 270 Sherman were built in 1900 and stand today in their original structures. It is one of the few historic complexes built in the late 19th to early 20th century that remain today in Hamilton, Ontario.
The growth of Hamilton’s economic landscape during the late 19th and early 20th century is accredited to textile production, the city’s second largest industry, second only to the steel mills. The men responsible for this city’s economic expansion are the "5 Johns" of Hamilton (John Morison Gibson, John Moodie, John Sutherland, John Dickenson and John Patterson). The men opened the Catract Power Company in 1896 which brought cheap electricity to the city. They were Hamilton's major landowners in the region, both of which brought manufactures and entrepreneurs from all over North America.
The general manager of the company was Charles T. Crantham, pioneer of the cotton duck industry in Canada and responsible for the creation of the Imperial Cotton Company Ltd. From Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Grantham was the bookkeeper for a cotton duck mill in 1883 to fix the company's books. Four years after his employment, he resigned to open a rival company in Hamilton, Ontario; bringing with him many workers and experts. Grantham had the help of John Patterson of the "5 Johns" to fund his cotton mill venture and build the cotton mill on the land that he owned. It was also decided that his brother Edmond Patterson would be the architect. By, 1900, the Imperial Cotton Company was born and looked after by James M. Young, the first President, who was the son of John Young, an original investor with the Dundas Cotton Company (1860–1891) and a now distant relative of Bob Young, the current owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The Imperial Cotton Company at 270 Sherman was the second largest cotton mill in the city and attracted customers from the around the world. Orders were taken from using the telegraphic system and codebook that can be found in Hamilton’s Public Library to date. The Imperial Cotton codebook helped workers simplify orders and organize classes of cotton. The company manufactures heavy grades of cotton duck, used for making vessel sails, mechanical belting and hose, railway car roofing, binder canvasses, tarpaulins, tents, awnings, filters and cotton paper dryers. The products of the company are sold mainly to manufacturers, cutters-up, railways, implement and paper makers.
The Cotton Factory has always been a “people first” kind of place. The Imperial Cotton Company produced a quarterly newsletter called, “The Fabricator”, to bring news to the staff about group insurance plans, a cafeteria unit that seated 165 people, upgrades of new technology such as electric refrigerators and a newly purchased lunchroom piano by the Entertainment Committee. News among the staff members are also featured in the Fabricator, highlighting marriages, births, and deaths and recounted vacation stories by the mill employees.
In 1924, the Imperial Cotton merged with Cosmos Cotton Mills (formerly Yarmouth Duck & Cotton). The new company, Cosmos-Imperial Mills Limited, owned and operated the complex until 1972, when most of its machinery and workers were sent back to Nova Scotia. A textile museum in Yarmouth houses many of the "Big Looms" that may have been used at 270 Sherman.
George Dark of Urban strategies has called 270 Sherman a “museum piece” for its complete example of the 19th Century industrial complex. The mill building, which housed 1,220 spinning spindles, 3,735 spindles, 98 duck looms and looms for the manufacture of cotton drayer felts, is constructed out of brick and timbre with "slow burning" wood beams positioned across the 30,000 square feet of space on the second and third floor Mill.
Next to the Mill Building is a smokestack that was used by three original boiler systems. Adjacent to the smokestack is a storage warehouse that was originally used for sorting, painting, finishing, shipping and waterproofing cotton. Centre of the mill courtyard is the Mills Arts Building, which was a later addition to the 270 Sherman complex and used today for artists to work their private units. Occupants of the building include professional artists that do photography, oil painting, sculpturing and designing to name a few.
As a popular site for commercial and private filming and photo sets, additions and constructions of the building take place on a regular basis.
Today, the Cotton Factory complex is being readapted as a creative facilities complex with over fifty creative professionals renting units in the various buildings. Spaces have been transformed for workshops and small manufacturing, office space for creative professionals and studios for artists. Areas of the building have also been used for a wide variety of television and movie productions and can accommodate period pieces dating back to the 1800s. The various film and TV productions have transformed parts of the Cotton Factory into a secret government operation in Chile, war-torn Bosnia, a glue factory with horses, and barracks for soldiers.The Art of the Steal (2013)
Manhattan Undying (2013)
Booky & the Secret Santa (2007)
All The Good Ones are Married (2007)
The Dark Room (2006)
War of the Wheels (2005)
Breakout (2009, 2012)
Coldblood (2011, 2012)
Perfect Storm (2012)
Turn the Beat Around (2009)
First Martian (2013)
Karma's a B***h (2013)
She's the Mayor (2013)
Bomb Girls (2012)
Murder in Paradise (2012)
The Listener (lunch room, exterior and parking) (2012)
Mayday (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)
Murdoch Mysteries (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
Nikita (2010, 2011 and 2012)
Canada's Handyman Challenge (2011)
Lost Girl (2009, 2010)
Living In Your Car (2010)
The Kennedys (Mini Series) (2010)
The Devil's Teardrop (2010)
Connor Undercover (2010)
Single White Spenny (2009)
Booky's Crush (2008)
All The Good Ones Are Married (2007)
Right Hand Man (2007)
ZOS: Zone of Separation (2007)Would Be Kings (2008)
24 Hour Rental (2012)
Robocop (lunch room, exterior, parking) (2014)
The Art of The Steal (working titles The Black Marks, The Fix) (2013)
Cold Spring (2012)
I"ll Follow You Down (2012)
The Junction (2012)
The Con Artist (Original titled The Love Child of Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono) (2010)
The Real Ripper (2010)
A Good Meal (2009)
Cell 213 (2009)
Lucky 7 (2009)
You Might As Well LIve (2009)
Hairspray (lunchroom) (2007)
Final Draft (originally titled Punchy the Clown) (2006)
Your Ex-Lover is Dead (2006)
Black Widow (2005)
Moosehead Commercial (2012)
Much Music Video Awards (2012)
Black Diamond Cheese Commercial (2006)
Blandine Music Video "To The Beat" (2012)
F***ed Up Music Video "The Other Shoe" (2011)
Jully Black Music Video "Can You Feel It?" (2011)
George Canyon Music Video, "Let It Out" (2009)