Wednesday, June 04, 2014

More Morlaix

In Morlaix yesterday for various things and dropped into Skol Vreizh, publishers of books in Breton, for a look at the very moving exhibition of poetry by Naig Rozmor, who used her creativity as a defence against dementia. 'There have been times of sunshine in my life because I learned how to chase away the rain.'
Skol Vreizh have their offices in the former tobacco factory, affectionately known as 'La Manu,' which was built in 1736 after the growing tobacco industry - a royal monopoly - outgrew its earliest manifestation in the nearby Manoir de Penanru. La Manufacture des tabacs was an important employer in the town with up to 1000 local workers, who benefited from enlightened provisions such as a creche, sick pay and pensions, as well as literacy classes. The site continued to function until 2004 and remains a striking example of industrial architecture, although sporting a sadly neglected air today despite housing many offices and artisanal workshops. Does Morlaix recognise and understand the growing trend towards industrial heritage tourism? It would have been a great location for a Morlaix museum, something scandously lacking a proper venue for many years. What other town with such a history fails to present a coherent image of itself to visitors?

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