The linen factory, which was founded in the area of the present-day Żyrardów, originated the development of the town. It was one of the largest and the most modern linen factories in Europe of the time. Żyrardów owes its name to the first technical director of the company, Philip de Girard. He was, among others, the inventor of the machine used for mechanical spinning of linen. In 1916 Żyrardów was granted town status.
After taking over the factory in the second half of the 19th century by two German entrepreneurs: Karl August Dittrich and Karl Hielle, it was extended, and together with it, the factory settlement.
The factory settlement consisted of a housing estate for the workers and management of the factory, churches, schools, a kindergarten, hospital, the Resursa Club, the "Ludowiec" Community Centre, and even a laundry room and a town bath house. This historic complex is situated in the central part of the town in the area of about 70 ha.
It is widely believed that the historic centre of Żyrardów is the only one in Europe, fully preserved, urban and architectural complex of an industrial town from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The settlement is distinguished by both specific urban planning order, as well as diversity of forms and architectural styles. It all results from ethnic diversification of the inhabitants of Żyrardów from the 19th century. In the factory there were Poles, Germans, Czechs, Jews, Englishmen, Scots and Irishmen. Żyrardów is the Factory Town, which was attempted to be built according to the project of the so-called model town or garden citiy". Due to this, Żyrardów ranks among one of the greatest achievements of European urban development of the second half of the 19th century.
One of the greatest challenges lying before the town government is restoration of facilities of the historic factory settlement. It constitutes a unique attraction on the national level and should be used as chief asset in the development of Żyrardów.
Photographs of Old Żyrardów