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29 July 2014
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A Linen Museum Outing

The Patterson brothers visit the Ulster Aviation Heritage Centre to discover how linen was used to cover aircraft, as well as the Irish Linen Centre to hear how flax was turned into this fabric.

Timothy Patterson

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A Linen Museum Outing

Philip Patterson is eight years old and it was his grandfather, John Pattison 1 who described to me his growing of flax in Fermanagh during the war. Flax that was destined for use in aircraft manufacturer. (A752041)

So, spurred on by grandfather's tales, Philip and his older brother, Timothy, decided to make flax their next project.

The whole family accompanied me to the Ulster Aviation Heritage Centre to discover how linen was used to cover aircraft.(See bottom of this page for link to Timothy's report) and they have subsequently visited the Irish Linen Centre and Museum at Lisburn to see and hear about the process that turned flax into the fabric which is famous the world over.

Philip has written this story as seen from the eyes of one of the workers - his grandfather perhaps?

Eight year old Philip Patterson
Philip plants some precious flax seeds

"My Trip to the Linen Museum"
By Philip Patterson

First we pulled the flax and tied it up with plaited reeds into bundles which were called beets.

Then we put them in a flax hole which is a dam, near a river. Then after nine days we lifted out the flax and laid it out to dry.

When it had dried we put it into carts to transport it to the flax mill. Then in the flax mill we scutched it by beating it and then holding it against a blade. The blade moved very quickly and got away the shoves which was the outside of the flax, we used the inside of the flax for the linen, after we had got away most of the shoves we combed it with spikes on a bench and then we wet spun the flax.

Then we took it and we wove it for aeroplanes. The End


Next visit?

I'm told the family is planning a trip to the Wellbrook Beetling Mill.

Click to read brother Timothy's report on his visit to the Ulster Aviation Heritage Centre

Return to Fermanagh Flax Hole


1 Yes the surnames are similar.

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