We look back at the Free Press in the final year of The Great War – 1918
Pinchbeck Mills were to be restarted it was announced, to the delight of an enthusiastic meeting in Spalding.
An announcement was made that the Government inaugerated a scheme to revive the flax industry – and the Spalding area was chosen for growing and dealing with it.
Local agriculturists immediately promised to grow nearly 650 acres of flax – the area required was 1,000 aces, but there was not the slightest doubt that this would be secured.
The flax grown locally was to be dealt with at the old Pinchbeck flax mills, which were temporarily taken over by the Government.
The meeting was one of the most crowded and enthusiastic gatherings of farmers seen for some time and a warm welcome accorded the scheme.
The large room at the White Hart Hotel was the meeting place.
A Mr Foster was the first speaker and in opening expressed his gratification at seeing so large and influential an attendance of the farmers present.
Proceeding, he said the country was face to face with a problem of the greatest importance – that of how to secure flax essential for war purposes and he hoped the farmers present would help the Government solve the problem.
Dr Hare said the reason flax production had failed in this country was because we could not compete with the cheap labour prevailing in Russia and secondly, because in Belgium and Holland, after the framer had grown the crops, they were taken in hand by experts who had made a special studyof the subject.
During the past year, the demands had been so great that the War Cabinet asked to secure at least 70,000 acres of flax. The Development Board accepted the task and decided that special preference should be given to those districts where flax had been grown in the past – such as Spalding and Pinchbeck