Briggs & Little Woolen Mills Ltd.
Over 165 years of history!

Briggs & Little Woolen Mills Ltd. has been the name of the woolen mill located in York Mills, NB, Canada, since 1916. Previous to that it was called Little’s Woolen Mills, and previous to that York Woolen Mills.

The mill was first started in 1857 by George Lister who was one of the original grant holders in the Harvey area. Over the first 30-35 years the mill changed hands a few times. In the 1890’s it was bought by Roy Little, who ran it until 1916 when illness forced his family to move to the Prairies for a dryer climate. At this time the business was bought by Mathew Briggs and Howard Little, giving us the name, it has held to this day.

Briggs & Little carried on under the ownership of these two gentlemen until the sudden passing of Mr. Briggs left half ownership to his son Russell. The younger Mr. Briggs continued on with Howard Little in the business until 1948, when Russell sold his share to a lifelong employee, Ward Little.

Ward Little and Howard Little ran the mill until 1954, at this time Howard sold his shares to his son, Roy. These gentlemen ran the mill as partners until 1978 when Ward sold his shares to his grandson, John Thompson and Roy sold half of his shares to his son John Little. In 1984, John Thompson and John Little became partners. In 2014, John Thompson retired and Mike Little purchased 50% of Briggs & Littles shares.  John Little and Mike Little, father and son, were the sole owners of Briggs and Little Woolen Mills Ltd. until 2019, when John retired from working in the office after 50 years.  Currently, Mike is running the mill and his wife, Leah has taken over Johns responsibilities in the office.

To date, the woolen mill has been operating for 165 years. In 2016, Briggs & Little celebrated 100 years of the “Little” bloodline. Currently there are two generations employed; Mike and his eldest son John-Michael and youngest son Carl.

Historical facts about Briggs & Little

  • It has been re-built each time after 4 fires. The most recent being in 1994.
  • The first colors other than white, grey, and black were introduced in the 1940’s and those included Scarlet, Royal Blue, and Paddy Green.
  • Partially powered by water until 1994.
  • Owned and operated by a descendant of Howard Little for over 100 years.
  • Ward Little worked at this mill for over 60 years.
  • John A. Little worked in the office for 50 years.
History May 2, 2012