who live alone so often are, he was a target for burglars so his house became
more and more like a fortress. Burglary
was one thing that made him seek help and I remember, early in our friendship,
when he appeared at the door late one evening. Asking to use the phone and
wielding a long 19th
century French bayonet in case he met the burglars on the way!
his experiences had left him somewhat bitter about milling (the reason I was
unable to persuade him to join HMG) John had an abiding and extremely
knowledgeable interest in mills and milling, and he would send me notes and talk
eagerly on the subject as we jointly explored the possibilities of a mill at St
Cross prior to the William of Wykeham mill downstream (see article in the
Newsletter of 2007). Apart from milling
he maintained a great interest in history, particularly in Winchester, and
corresponded over the years with the City’s curators and other experts about the
many mysteries connected with buildings in the City and, whenever he found
interesting stones following some demolition, he would bring them back to his
other great interest was this garden where, until the very last months of his
life, he cultivated and took pride in his extensive vegetable crop, assisted by
his black and white cat. His house has
been bought by a family of 6 and I am sure this would give him pleasure because
he told us, when we first moved in to the other half of the semi-detached pair,
that it had been his hope to see a family established there again after many
years of fleeting tenancies.
In his memory and on John
Keevil’s behalf I am donating to HMG his mill bill and a book called
by Peter A. Kozmin of the
Polytechnic Institute in Petrograd (editor of
Miller), translated from
the Russian by M. Falkner and Theodor Fjelstrup, 1917.
The preface opens with this explanatory sentence:
It is a
singular fact that there is no serious modern work on flour milling in English.
Here is a typical example
of one of his notes. often accompanied by freehand diagrams, which I would
receive from John, in answer to
some query of mine.
Looking at it from head to tail, when the water wheel is shut down or
under repair the waste hatches are opened to an alternative route to the lower
level. The mill hatches shut the water
out of the mill.
Looking at it
from across the stream I have tried to show by bevel gears how power reaches the
mill stones. This of course varies
according to the water power available – the size of the stream.
These stones were dressed. In a
mill with four stones, one was always being dressed by a man using a mill bill
(I still have one).
If there is very limited water power available the river is impounded in a
mill pond or pound. This may have been
the case at St Cross where an early mediaeval mill could have produced flour
during the day and a head of water to flush the toilets during the night.
From late Victorian times the stone mills were slowly giving way to
roller mills. The roller mill consists of
a steel frame carrying four rolls of about 7 inches diameter, 40 feet long and
four small feed rolls. The break rolls
were fluted so that the lower, running slightly slower, held the grain while the
upper cut it like a scissor. This then
led to small smooth rolls, the grist having been sifted first by machines
covered in different grades of steel mesh and eventually as it got finer to
grades of silk mesh.
In 1935 Ranks were building a huge mill in Southampton docks where I got
work in shifts (6-2, 2-10,10-6). The only
way to get there for the 6-2 was by push-bike, and the 2-10 and 10-6 by train
from Winchester to the Dock Station until I was able to get a little BSA
motor-bike in 1936 for £30. Then came the
war: at 6am one Monday morning two high explosive bombs came down through the
warehouse, and the mill was a fire bomb wreck!
I had taken correspondence courses and passed my intermediate and final
exams at Southampton University.
further explanations: as mills grew
bigger and had more floors carrying the different types of machines it required
a number of bucket elevators to take the grist from the bottom to the top for
the next process: silks floor; purifier floor, roller floor, and as the flour
passed through it was bleached in chlorine gas.
In my time the flour was sacked up in 10 stone sacks, the bran and
wheatings in 8 stone bags and a small amount of wheat germ, about 8 stone per
shift (I do not know what it was used
for). The whole process is now bulk handled right up to the bakehouse door.
20 Edgar Road.
great grandfather was William Lawes who sailed round the world twice (1835 &
1845). The Lawes came from Argyleshire.