As a child growing up in Northern Ireland we were surrounded by the remnants of the linen industry, which had sadly declined. Many of my family had worked in the linen mills and there were reminders everywhere in the names of the streets and places, where we played. One of my favourite places to play as a child was amongst the ruins of the old Moylena Beetling Mill in Antrim. The rusting water wheel which powered the machinery and now sat frozen in time seemed massive to me as a young boy, but was a great place to play hide and seek. It was only on my first visit to the Ulster Museum in Belfast later that I realised how important the linen industry had been to Northern Ireland and how much of an influence it had had on my family’s history.
THANKS GARY: cracking memories and great pic. I’m in touch with Ulsters Old Mills Society and will follow this story up when we tour to Lisburn in early October. Not as much industrial archaeology available in Scotland but we’re on the hunt!