Flax book a real collectors’ item

SWANN MEMORIES RI Farm
BOOKED: Philip Swann’s grandson Lewis Clark holding the books and Paul Callaghan’s Farmyard Memories article on the retting of flax.

WHEN Philip Swann from Crumlin read our recent Farmyard Memories story about an old book on the retting of flax, it struck a chord for he realised he had a copy of that very book amongst the ‘treasure’ in his attic.

Reflecting on how he came into possession of the book, Mr Swann told FarmWeek: “At the time I was a maintenance electrician at Belfast International Airport and about 25 years ago a new charge-hand fitter started in the workshop called Allen Fenning. Allen, his father and his grandfather had worked in Mosley Mill until it closed and then he joined the airport.

“He was great craic and had some terrific and interesting stories about the mill and the workers, which I would coax him to tell me about. Then one day he brought in two books which had been his father’s and gave them to me, including the book on retting of flax.

“I have looked through them but I haven’t really read them, but I’ll not be throwing them out.”

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