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Living Linen Interview LL2_R00/47 1 of 2


Sound Recording on Reel: Library Transcript: Transcript. Summary: Adam Greenwood’s career in linen began with the Larne Weaving Co as an office junior. Within the year he was training to be an apprentice manager. Larne had 220 looms, dobby and jacquard, and wove household linens. They bought their yarns from local mills and had their cloth bleached by Burton's of Inver. Their major customers were local cloth merchants. After WWII Mr Greenwood joined LIRA, working in the weaving section assisting factories with production problems. After one year Mr Greenwood left Lambeg to work as weaving manager for Thomas Duff's Calcutta Jute Mill. This was a vertical firm with 1,000 looms. The factory, and purpose built village, was built inside a compound. Mr Greenwood returned to Ireland due to the social upheaval in India at the time. The movement for independence was gathering pace and crowds often gathered outside the compound chanting anti-British slogans. Despite the presence of armed guards and a motor launch on the river for evacuation purposes Mr Greenwood decided to leave. In 1947 he became Ewart's Production Manager, charged with rectifying the company’s weaving problems. The poor quality of Ewart’s cloth was due to the hiring of inexperienced weavers. Mr Greenwood quickly dismissed those sub-standard workers and introduced a trial period for all new starts. Within a short period of time the factory was producing top quality cloth. After 18 months Mr Greenwood, who was still living in Larne, was invited to manage Inver factory. Inver ran 250 looms weaving dress fabric, suitings, embroidery cloth and household linens. Everything was made for the Belfast merchants. Their yarn came from Titterington's, Preston's and Greeves '. Inver was a close knit factory and the workforce was drawn from a quite well defined catchment area. Adam set up his own weaving factory in partnership with two other men some 21/2 years later. This firm - The Horseshoe - was established in an old gas cleansing station in Larne with 10 looms. Although The Horseshoe ran successfully, it was not growing and Mr Greenwood responded to an advertisement looking for someone to set up a weaving factory in Brazil. Linificio Leslie Ltd was running very successfully when Mr Greenwood received a telegram from the Horseshoe asking him to return as business had picked up enormously. The Horseshoe expanded to 52 looms and was working at full capacity when the bubble burst and linen prices tumbled. Many customers cancelled their orders and the bank called in their unsecured loan. Mr Greenwood was fighting to salvage Horseshoe when an offer was made for the firm by a Bradford Company. Mr Greenwood stayed on and managed the firm for a number of years until he was approached by Doagh Spinning Co and asked to manage Mallory Factory. The firm was losing money due to improper costing and their failure to use Doagh spun yarns. Mr Greenwood soon put this right and turned the company around. Mallory had 1,000 looms weaving rayon dress fabrics. Despite the firm's success Mr Greenwood recommended that it close and the company concentrate on yarn production. After a spell with Blackstaff as a consultant for Doagh Adam rejoined Ewarts as Marketing and Devpt Manager. When Ewarts amalgamated with Liddells of Donacloney Adam began to look around. Dr Fred Sloan asked him to run Kirkpatrick's Linron plant. After Flaxal bought Kirkpatrick's Adam was invited to re-start the Linron plant. This he continued to run very successfully until his retirement in 1991.