In Sailly-sur-la-Lys (Pas-de-Calais), 4,000 inhabitants, almost everything recalls the Salmon family, owner of the Safilin flax mill for eight generations. In addition to the factory, with its windows now closed, it was she who built the school, the church and the chapel, as well as the football fields.
“And all the little red brick houses that you see in the neighborhood, they are called the Salmon houses”, insists Fernand, 58, a little overweight and blue eyes. He has been there for over 40 years. Once a mechanic on the looms, today he is a lonely handyman, walking with tools in hand between the parking lot, the headquarters offices and the coil storage warehouse.
The smells, the dust, the heat … a habit
Yarn production was relocated 25 years ago to large Polish workshops, a country with a strong linear tradition and a gross minimum wage of € 615.
“The Saillisiens, they came to work from the age of 16. There were the smells, the noises, the dust, an unbearable heat in summer m