Hampshire Mills Group




HMG Activity - 2



 Ill do it for six months, just until you find someone else.  Now, more than thirty years later, John Silman has found a  trusty replacement Chairman for the Hampshire Mills Group.  His worthy successor is Vice-Chairman, Mick Edgeworth, who took over his new role during the December meeting of the mills group at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

A founder member of HMG, John Silman  has spearheaded a small band of enthusiasts through more than three decades of rescue and repair of many of Hampshires wind and water mills.  Mill owners and work parties of other mills groups throughout the country have sought his advice.  He has also delivered countless illuminating and highly informative talks to an enormous cross section of groups and societies across the south of England, and not just about mills, but about old postcards too.    These will be continued as will labour with the Heavy Gang  team, working to repair and restore Hampshires industrial past.

In recognition of  Johns enormous contribution,  the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings  (SPAB) presented him with an illuminated citation in November 2006.  Justly proud of this rarely bestowed honour, John is photographed with it at Longbridge Mill.
Photo & article by Sheila M Viner


Seminar on Micro-Hydro at Crabble Corn Mill, Dover, Kent on Jan 24th 2008

The British Hydropower Association held a seminar to introduce the topic of generating electricity from  water power on a small scale.  Of interest to Mill owners and local authorities the morning was devoted to short presentations on the basics of power generation, the ways to go about  ascertaining if it is feasible and possibly economic, the role of the Environment Agency and the consents required and case studies on two recent successful installations.  A tour of the new 3.6kW generating set at the Crabble Corn Mill - Kent's only working watermill - showed what micro-hydro involves in practice.

Two simple facts dominate - to generate power you need a good head of water and a strong flow rate.  Then you need to consult early with the Environment Agency to engage on the issues of licences, consents and surveys - the impact on fish, water diversion or extraction and potential flow reductions.  An engineering solution can then be designed and costed and if you generate enough to sell surplus energy the complex economics of electricity tariffs, renewable energy certificates and the like worked through.  If all is positive then Local Authority planning consents must be sought and finally the installation can be started.  Somewhere a year to two years from the start you may be able to switch on.

Given the imperative of increasing the capture of renewable energy - and one estimate said that the 20,000 mill sites in England could generate 200MW if all converted - it seems that currently the burden on a mill owner is quite onerous from the regulatory and official angle, and the economics not compelling.   However a long term view is needed and at appropriate sites electricity generation is feasible and economic with payback over 10+ years.

Interestingly the seminar had an audience mainly of professionals from the industry, local authority staff learning about the subject and 4 or 5 owners of mills or other potential sites.

The British Hydropower Association - BHA has a useful guide to Micro Hydro on its website, and is an industry body promoting the use of hydropower.  A number of consultants and engineering firms can offer advice and services to assist in or carry out the process.

Report by Ashok Vaidya - the article reflects his views and not necessarily those of the Hampshire Mills Group.



HMG Visit to Crossness Pumping Station and House Mill on Sept 16 2007

A very enjoyable excursion to see one of the world's largest beam engine in steam at the Crossness Pumping works in east London, followed by a fascinating tour of the Three Mills site in Bromley. 



Photos by Ashok Vaidya


The Crossness Pumping Station was built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette as part of Victorian London's urgently needed main sewerage system. It was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in April 1865.  It contains the four original pumping engines which are possibly the largest remaining rotative beam engines in the world, with 52 ton flywheels and 47 ton beams.   See http://www.crossness.org.uk/


Our group outside Clock Mill, part of the Three Mills area.   The River Lea Tidal Mill Trust Ltd has restored House Mill which is open to the public. 
See http://www.housemill.org.uk/


HMG's highly successful trip to Norfolk to view twenty sites over four days in April 2007.   Organised by Andy Fish, and with driving by Andy and John Silman.

Photos by Shiela M Viner

We were at Eling tide mill in March 2007 to carry out some repair and refurbishment, relieving some of the load from the contractors working on the site and helping to speed the overall progress.

Photos by Nigel Smith

These photos taken in March 2007 show our volunteers working to restore the wheel and pump at Timsbury.

Work is now complet
ed with the wheel finished and turning freely and the pump mechanism operating off load.  The final activities involved installing sluice gates next to the wheel pit channel and connecting the pump outflow valve to the pipe that will take water to the fountain in the pond (when this is put in place).

The pump was being tested which is why there are more people watching than working !

Photos by Nigel Smith


Photo A Vaidya
Amongst our recent projects we worked at Headley Mill, replacing all the buckets and starts on the water wheel.  Volunteers spent a day a week on site carrying out the careful fitting of new buckets onto the existing wheel.

The water wheel is now complete and in working order.


Photo by Nigel Smith
HMG volunteers inspect the upper floor of Beaulieu Tide Mill where on March 15, 2006 a fire severely damaged  the structure.  We spent time to clear away timber and debris while preserving and identifying all the useful mill related items in the structure.

It is hoped that in time the Mill may be restored.



horizontal rule

Copyright 2019 Hampshire Mills Group
Registered as a Charity - 1116607