Edith Sekules was born in Vienna in 1916.Both her parents were descendants of Jewish families which had emigrated to Austria from eastern Europe in the late 19th century. In 1936 Edith married Kurt Sekules, a wireless engineer, who she had met a few years before. Their first child, Ruth, was born in 1938.

During these years the political situation in Austria was worsening with the increasing dominance of the Nazis in Germany and resultant pressure on Jews. Like other Jewish families, Kurt, Edith and their infant daughter, attempted to leave Vienna. They were eventually able to leave for Tallin in Estonia in September 1938 where Kurt had found work. However, the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Germany in 1941 meant that they became enemy aliens. In July 1941 the Sekules family were sent to Harku Detention Camp, near Tallin. The family were to spend the remainder of the Second World War in a number of detention camps in Siberia.

In January 1947, the Sekules family, were able to return to Austria with 200 other internees. Kurt and Edith had decided to join Kurt’s parents who had emigrated to Londonderry in the late 1930s.

Edith was encouraged to set up a knitting factory, and after considering a number of towns in which to establish a factory, Edith settled on Kilkeel in county Down. She set up business in early 1950. Twelve knitting machines were delivered from England and Edith and Kurt began to recruit and train local women.

During the 1950s and 1960s the business continued to expand. As well as making Argyle socks, the company began to knit tartan hose worn by pipe bands and, from 1957, cashmere and Aran sweaters. The customer base also developed to include leading retailers in London, Scotland and America. In 1968, the company moved into larger premises in a former school.

In the 1980s, Edith and Kurt’s son Walter became more involved in the business. By this time cashmere was becoming too expensive and Walter focused on the production of Argyle socks.

Kurt Sekules died in 2001 and Edith died at the age of 91 in 2007. Walter continued to run the factory until it eventually closed in the autumn of 2022.