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Newsletter 131 Winter 2020   Hampshire Mills Group



Mills on Field Visits



Keith Andrews


My article in the last newsletter described how the University of Southampton Adult Education Department in conjunction with Southampton University Industrial Archaeology Group (SUIAG) as was, now Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society (HIAS) organised week and weekend field visits to all parts of the country. As mentioned, there were generally at most only one or two mills featured in the trips depending on the area visited, with the notable exception of the 1985 Essex and South Suffolk field visit, described last time.
So here are a selection of the mills that Ruth or I visited on other field visits over the years, with our photos taken at the time, or in some cases on other private visits. Again, the information about each mill is taken as is from the notes for the visit prepared by the leader Dr Edwin Course, so remember that they relate to the situation at the date of the visit! A further selection is planned for the next newsletter.


Museum of East Anglian Rural Life, Stowmarket (TM 047584) August 1981


[From the Museum Guidebook]

The Alton Mill group of buildings formerly stood at Sutton near Ipswich. The mill is a white timber-framed and weather-boarded building dating from the 17th century. It was enlarged during the 18th century so the waterwheel is now inside the building.


The Eastbridge Windpump was one of four windpumps draining the Minsmere Level near Leiston in Suffolk. It was bult in the mid-19th century probably by millwright Robert Martin of Beccles and worked until 1939. Falling into disrepair during the war it was replaced after 1945 with a modern type of iron windpump. The pump is of the smock type, with a timber-framed tower of pitch pine 30ft high clad in weather-boarding. The four patent sails have a span of 44ft, and drive a unique 3-cylinder lift pump, constructed of zinc-lined timber with cast iron pistons and valves.





Thwaites Putty Mills, Leeds (SE 328312) August 1984

The red brick buildings of this complex site date from the 1820s, when an oil seed crushing and corn grinding mill was established on an old milling site.  These mills were re-equipped in the 1870s to crush flint;  later they ground chalk for use in putty manufacture.  Until recently a variety of machinery was driven by two iron breastshot water wheels, of late 18th century date.  This unique industrial monument also includes a machine shop, stabling, a drying floor, and offices.


KA:  In 1990 the site opened as a museum which is now run by Leeds City Council.  The pictures right and below are from a visit in 2000.  One of the waterwheels is just visible behind the equipment in the lower pictures.





Cheddleton Flint Mill, near Leek (SJ 973527)
August 1987

Features of interest at Cheddleton include the Caldon Canal of 1777, a building used for brewing, a former silk mill, and the main item of interest: a flint grinding mill. It was constructed on a traditional water power site. The mills are preserved by a Trust.

The lower pictures are from 1981.





Melin Llynnon, Anglesey (SH 340852) August 1988

Anglesey has the remains of many windmills, but at present Melin Llynnon is the only one restored to working order and producing flour. It is a tower mill with common sails. It is open to the public.

KA: HMG visited Melin Llynnon on the 2018 Study Trip; see newsletter 122 for more pictures.

Dunkirk Mill, Nailsworth (SO 845005) May 1989

The buildings have dates from 1798 to 1855. At one time it had 5 waterwheels and a beam engine. Cloth production ceased about 1890. The last industrial use was for engineering and the mills are now in residential use.

KA: HMG visited Dunkirk Mill in 2010; see newsletter 89.






Maesllyn Mill, near Newcastle Emlyn (SN 368447)
August 1989

Maesllyn Mill was established on a water power site, with Pelton wheels, in 1881.  In his book of 1968, Geraint Jenkins noted that B R Morgan & Co employed 6 people in the mill.  The machinery included a carding set, a spinning mule, and 9 looms.  The mill survives as a working museum.



Y Felin, St Dogmaels (SN 165459) August 1989

This water-powered corn mill has been restored by Michael Hall, the present owner, and produces wholemeal and speciality flours.  The building dates from the late 18th or early 19th century, but new machinery was installed in 1819.  The overshot wheel was rebuilt in 1981, incorporating a rim from a mill at St Davids, and there are 3 pairs of stones.

KA:  HMG visited Y Felin on the 2017 Study Trip, when the picture below on the left was taken;  see newsletter 118 for more pictures.



Carew Tide Mill, Pembrokeshire (SN 042038)
August 1989

The mill is a fine stone building on an impressive causeway (pictured below left, in 1979) with its machinery intact. Inevitably there will be comparisons with Eling Tide Mill. Briefly , the building is finer, but although the machinery was restored to working order in 1973, no flour is produced.

KA:  HMG visited Carew on the 2017 Study Trip;  see newsletter 118 for more pictures.



Gilkes, Kendal (SD 518926) August 1990

In Hampshire there is a tendency to regard Armfields as the only manufacturers of water turbines, but in fact, the turbines of Gilkes are also to be found in many parts of the world.  A predecessor of the present company was Williamsons, who produced Pelton wheels;  Gilkes were established in 1881.  Inevitably, there has been some diversification of product, but historically this was above all a manufactory for water turbines.  A former director of Gilkes was a founder of the Newcomen Society.

KA:  No pictures available.


Little Salkeld Mill, Cumbria (SD 566360)
August 1990


A suggested date for the building is the 18th century, but with considerable renovation in the mid to late 19th century.  There were two overshot wheels of which the upper, which drove oatmeal gear, was removed in 1950.  Wholemeal flour is now produced with French burr stones.  The wheel is by Henry of Aberdeen and is dated 1914.

Bourn Windmill, Cambridgeshire (TL 312580) September 1990

A very early postmill, perhaps of 1636.  There is no roundhouse to enclose the lower part of the post and quarterbars, which contributes to its ancient appearance.  The machinery is mainly of 19th century date.  It was gifted to Cambridge Preservation Society in 1932, and they have maintained it ever since.




Great Chishill Windmill, near Royston (TL 413388) September 1990

Another postmill, this one rebuilt in 1819, with patent sails and a fantail provided in 1890.  Like Bourn, it has no roundhouse.  The sails lack shutters, but the internal machinery is complete.


Crabble Watermill, Dover (TR 297432) September 1991

A typical Kent mill, now restored and producing flour.  The lower parts of the walls are of brick, but above, is weather-boarding with a timber frame.  There is an external wheel in a wheelhouse.




KA:  If anyone has pictures of Felin Geri, Siwan Woollen Mill, or Felin Newydd in South Wales, or Muncaster Mill in Cumbria that I could use in the next article, I would be grateful if you could send them to me at hpdn.ka@ntlworld.com .



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