I was delighted to have the opportunity to address the “Friends of the
Curtis Museum” at Alton, on the subject of The History of Milling.
There was a very good attendance and I was given a generous cheque for HMG
John Christmas (HMG Project Manager) and I met with a member of the
Engineers Office at Eastleigh Borough Council, to learn what they wanted to
do to the turbines of Bishopstoke Mill, since their visit to look at the
occasional flooding problem experienced in heavy rainfall. They are
proposing building a new wing wall outside the current wall on the lefthand
side looking upstream. Removing the plethora of trees, large and small, that
have grown up on site will be followed by the removal and replacement of the
existing trash screen; this should allow us to inspect the turbines from the
working side. We also took the opportunity to explain in some detail
how we hope to get the water held back both above and below the turbine
house to create a reasonably dry area in order to clean out the turbine
draught tubes. This will now be discussed by the Council and the
Environment Agency; we await their pronouncements.
My talk on
Milling History was given to the Eastleigh Valley Railway Engineering
Society plus I was able to update them on the latest position
regarding the Bishopstoke turbines; several of their members helped us
clearing the site earlier this year.
Met with various
friends of Eling Tide Mill and Dave Plunkett, to check the wedges on the pit
wheel at Eling. On a previous milling, he had seen what had appeared to be
movement on the pit wheel axle and he was quite rightly concerned lest the
whole axle moved when the mill was running. Dave Hibbert and I, with
the help from Nigel Smith, checked all the wedges on both sides of the axle
but thankfully could not find any loose wedges. A job worth doing just
to be sure.
To Longbridge with the usual milling gang, to lift and clean out the stones
since no flour had been produced for some time. We also took the
opportunity to vacuum clean the interior of the tun which we are using, lift
the runner stone and inspect the dressing which looked to be in pretty good
order. Sheila recorded all of this activity, in photographs, for
inclusion in a record to show visitors unable to get up the stairs or
ladder. Having replaced the stones and tun and cleaned out the spout
work, we milled some fresh flour for sale at the bar.
invitiation of Mitchell and Butler, the new Longbridge Mill owners, Margaret
and I attended their pre-opening evening in order to test their new staff‘s
cooking and service. This went very well and we tried as many dishes
as possible before we could eat no more. Thanks M&B!
The winter meeting of HMG was held in the premises of Eling Sailing Club; a
very good attendance AND a full range of topics was discussed.
After the formal meeting, many of us stayed to be reminded of our trip to
Herefordshire with photographs expertly projected by Nigel and Angela.
Thanks to Mick, John Mears and Sheila for the photographs and Malcolm for
arranging the venue.
Eleven of the regular milling crew plus partners foregathered at Longbridge
for our traditional Christmas Dinner arranged by Brian Archer. A good
time was had by all. I have to say that the Belgian Chocolate Mousse
(amongst other food) was superb.
had two appointments in the week before Christmas. One was with the optician
and the other was milling at Longbridge. Luckily, neither required any
change of programme for me. Milling went well and we were able to fill
the new display section behind the bar with bags of freshly milled flour.
The new team working in the restaurant are much more interested in selling
flour which they now display at eye level in the bar and, consequently, much
more is sold. I wonder if we shall have to regularly mill at least
another 20 kilos if demand keeps up at the current level. We could
still do with a least 2 more volunteers to learn the art, and it is an art,
of milling so why not contact Mick or I and watch a milling session to see
if you would like to be a team member. The new restaurant Manager,
Lyn, is keen to take over the marketing tasks now that Brian has accepted an
opportunity of educational consultancy demanding his time elsewhere.
I am sorry to
have to report that I have received a card from Commander John Rayner R.N.
(Retired), a former keen HMG member, telling me that he suffered a
severe stroke in August at his mill in France. He is currently
living in Wiltshire where he has embarked upon a strict regime of
physiotherapy and exercise in order to get back to fitness. Some
members may remember helping to restore the wheel a few years ago at his
lovely watermill in Deux Sevres. I hope to go and see John in the
reasonable future. Meanwhile, I am sure you will join me in
wishing him all the best of luck and success in his endeavours.
I am delighted to hear from millwright, Malcolm Cooper, that he has been
working on Yafford Mill; renewing the waterwheel among other items.
This mill, on the Isle of Wight, has changed hands recently. Perhaps
we ought to have another trip to the Island; I will try to ascertain
if we would be welcome. We could definitely find enough of the mills
for a day visit. Malcolm is nearing completion of his work on the
Armfield turbine at Bindon Abbey Mill near Wool, in Dorset. The mill
is being converted to residential use and the turbine will be coupled up to
a generator to produce electricity. I have a final inspection to do
for SPAB shortly on the mill. I’ll report when that is completed.
I addressed the Wellow History Society on the subject of mills and found in
the audience a lady who was in my class at school in 1949!! I’m showing my
age, am I not?
and I spoke to Farnborough U3A on the subject of Industrial Archeaology.
Over 80 people attended ad they wan us to go back at some time to finish the
talk as we ran out of time.
Milling day at
Longbridge Mill. This proved to be the busiest day we have ever had at
Longbridge. We milled 5 X 25kg sacks of “Solstice” wheat and had many,
many visitors to the mill. Before we could insert the weir top boards
and lift the tipping sluices we had to clear the headrace of several large
lumps of wood , presumably brought down river by the previous night’s heavy
rainfall and thus swollen flow of the Loddon. All seven of us in the
milling team had an action packed, non-stop day. May I say how keen
the new Mitchells & Butlers Manageress and Staff are to be as helpful as hey
can to us and what a difference they make to our efforts.
would still like a couple more volunteers to come and “learn the
ropes” in order that we can have the odd day off. So how about coming
to join a busy team on a regular basis?
I spoke to
Nursling & Rownhams history society on the subject of Milling History which
was well received.