Belfast Telegraph

Linen mill’s history saved for posterity in new museum centre

by Natalie Irvine

Newtownabbey was proud to officially open its museum that remembers and honours one of the town’s most traditional industries and the people that worked there.

Last Friday (November 12), Museum at The Mill (situated in Mossley Linen Mill) was officially opened by the Mayor of Newtownabbey, Alderman Paula Bradley.

Speaking at the event Mayor Bradley said: “I am delighted to officially open Museum at The Mill, marking the completion of the council’s restoration and refurbishment of this beautiful linen mill.

“It has been very important that the story of Mossley Mill has achieved a permanent place and I have no doubt that the Museum at The Mill will be a very popular attraction, adding to the other facilities at Newtownabbey Borough Council’s headquarters.”

Housed within what was originally the wet spinning floor of the mill, the museum tells the story of Mossley Mill and the people who worked there from the 1800s to the mill’s closure in 1996.

The history is presented through a range of interpretative displays, including artefacts, images and archival film. The more recent history of the mill as the civic headquarters, cultural centre and an important site for natural heritage and biodiversity is also celebrated.

The museum also has a community space, offering the perfect venue for workshops and arts and craft projects.

A new exhibition space, The Flax Gallery, will allow for a wide range of exhibitions to be displayed throughout the year. The opening exhibition is ‘Farming in Mid-Antrim 1900–1950’ which evokes an era in local farming that is still within living memory, but one that has now gone forever.

This Thursday (November 18) there will be a presentation on the linen industry — from 1pm to 2pm there will be an illustrated talk on the subject from Northern Ireland Screen’s digital film archive.

Through a variety of film materials this presentation will look at different aspects of the linen industry in Northern Ireland – from manufacturing techniques and different uses of linen, to the changing attitudes towards the linen mills and even how the industry has influenced our musical culture. Booking for this event is essential — email dfa@northernirelandscreen.co.uk.

The museum will be open from Monday to Wednesday 10am to 5pm, Thursday 10am to 9pm and Friday 10am to 4pm and admission is free. If you would like to put your name on the museum’s mailing list call 9034 0129.

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