Flaxmill Voices

The Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings are working with local artist Andy McKeown to launch a new Flaxmill Voices project. We need you to lend your voices to the original flax mill workers who worked in the mill between 1797 and 1886.

Through years of research in the Shropshire Archives and online, our volunteers have identified the names of the men, women and children who worked here when it was a working flax mill.



There are records that indicate workers were not allowed to talk, and especially in the time of dry spinning, the amount of dust in the air would have made opening your mouth a risky business. As Eliza, who worked in a flax mill owned by John Marshall in Leeds said in 1833: “I left there because it was so dusty; it stuffed me so I could scarcely speak.” And Samuel from Shrewsbury stated in 1833: “We were never allowed to talk; not at all, by no means.”

Andy McKeown, the Shrewsbury artist behind the Flaxmill Voices explains: “Flaxmill Voices is one of a series of personal, collective and collaborative sensory explorations of the site and its histories currently being developed. The ultimate aim is to create a walk-through installation with the voices. The Flaxmill Voices project was originally intended to be a schools and community drop in recording process, but it is perfectly suited to a remote (lockdown) activity using a mobile phone, which is a real ‘studio in your pocket’.”



This is where we need your help to give these workers of the flax mill their voice back. We are asking you to record yourself reading one of the names of a flax mill worker.

To register your interest, please email Andy via: [email protected] and tell us how many people in your family will be recording a single name each. You will receive an email back with the names to be recorded and a simple how-to guide. In the interests of data protection your data will then be deleted and only your sound recording will be used.

Click here for a link to the flaxmill voices recording and submission guide

Help us to give these flax mill workers an individual voice and make them part of the future of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.