The Heckling Shop - Flax
This building, at no.10 Glasgow Vennel ('the narrow street which carried the trade from Irvine to Glasgow') was restored in the 1980s. In Burns' time, the premises were divided into a but-an-ben, the but end being used to store flax, and the ben end being where the flax was dressed. It is recorded that, even in this confined space, work horses belonging to the neighbour were also stabled, most probably during the night when the heckling was finished. Here Robert Burns worked for ten hours a day in the ill ventilated building, drawing the rough flax through the heckles. It was indeed dull, monotonous work for a man like Burns; the dust from the flax was stifling and the odious smell sickened him.