THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Flax improvement society considers coming to the relief of the destitute

From the News Letter, April 6, 1848

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 6:00 am
The old Flax Mill, Killeeshil, Co Tyrone. Picture from May 2010

The News Letter on this day in 1848 reported that secretary of the Royal Society for the Promotion and Improvement of the Growth of Flax in Ireland updated members on plans to come to the relief of the destitute south and west of Ireland.

The meeting had been held at the society’s rooms in the Commercial Building in Belfast. He told how he had been in communication with members of the Friends’ Central Relief Committee.

He said that the committee extended their thanks to society and said that they were interested in the proposal whereby the society would allocate a portion of its funds to the purchase of flaxseed.

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This seed was then to be distributed in “poor and remote” districts in the south and west of Ireland.

The Friends also advised the society that they would be happy to “superintend the growth and preparation” through number of agriculturalists “in order to enable the growers to realise the full value of the produce”.

The society’s secretary remarked: “The Friends have already arranged to sow 50 acres in Co Mayo and to distribute seed for a larger breadth.”

But he confirmed that the Friends had not made a final decision to proceed with the matter but would discuss it at their coming meeting and “communicate with the society when they had decided upon it”.