Andrews, Michael (1788–1870), industrialist, was third son of Michael Andrews (d. 1805), linen bleacher, of Annsborough, near Castlewellan, Co. Down, and Elizabeth Andrews (née Meek), who was Scottish. He had three sisters. The Andrews family was of great importance in the industrial development of the north of Ireland; young Michael was first apprenticed to and later briefly in partnership with his uncle Thomas Andrews (d. 1809), a linen trader in Belfast, but in 1810 he set up his own small factory in Belfast. Following his uncle's example, Michael Andrews regularly visited his customers all over England, developing the market for Ulster linen, becoming well known, and prospering greatly. In 1819 he bought or leased land in Edenderry, south of Belfast, where he built a large factory, known as Ardoyne, and what was regarded in its day as a model village to accommodate workers. Andrews, unlike his neighbours the Coulsons of Lisburn, was keen to introduce new technology, and in 1823 was the first manufacturer in Ireland or Scotland to import two of the new Jacquard looms directly from France. This development rapidly revolutionised linen production: cloth with the most artistic self-patterning could be produced by the use of punched cards, and Ardoyne linen became world-famous. The company won numerous awards for its designs, including (1835) a gold medal from the RDS, and supplied royal palaces worldwide, as well as the White House in the USA.
Andrews was a unitarian, and carried on the family tradition of public service and philanthropy. It was largely thanks to him that the Belfast Savings Bank was set up in December 1815; it opened in January 1816, and his careful management during forty-five years as its secretary ensured its success as an institution that greatly benefited working people. The welfare of his workers and other people living in poverty was important to Andrews, who paid top wages and helped charitable organisations. He served for years on the committees of the Belfast fever hospital, dispensary, and Lancastrian school, and was secretary of the Irish Harp Society and manager of the Belfast House of Industry. In 1851 he was a member of the committee that organised Ulster's exhibits in the Great Exhibition; he was a member of the RDS from 1834, and secretary of the Belfast Horticultural Society; his exhibits in its shows regularly won prizes.
His activity in political matters was equally notable; he was prominent in Belfast support for the passing of the reform bill in 1832 and took an interest in similar attempts to increase political rights. He was a personal friend of F. D. Finlay (qv) and in 1824 helped him financially to set up the Northern Whig newspaper, which for over a century provided a forum for liberal opinion in Ulster.
Andrews married first (17 September 1810) Sarah McWilliam, who died in 1813, aged only 21, giving birth to their second son. Both boys died young. He married secondly (28 January 1817) Margaret McCammon of Belfast; they had two sons and a daughter. After his second wife's death (1844) Andrews married (3 April 1845) Eliza Ormiston of London; they had four sons and a daughter. Eliza Andrews survived her husband's death on 20 December 1870, and lived until 1900. Michael Andrews's will disposed of effects worth less than £30,000; the Ardoyne factory remained in the family until 1899.