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Page 10

Newsletter 102, Autumn 2013  © Hampshire Mills Group


Peter Mobbs reports on Midsummer Happenings at Headley Mill

If you remember in your last newsletter it was reported that a clever man from Wales, John Brandrick, has made some very impressive drawings showing 3 Dimensional details of the machinery at Hockley Watermill.  John said that for his next project he would like to measure up Headley Watermill.

When I made this suggestion to Headley Mill owner Richard Ellis, he replied it would be fine by him, but access would be difficult as he had somehow mislaid the key to the mill. However, he suggested that it should be possible to make a new key since he had photocopied an image of the key, see figure 1. This image shows the approximate size of the key but unfortunately lacks detail.

I used this information to make a mock up key and, just as I had read in detective stories, took a wax impression of the lock. It is a wonderful ancient lock about one foot square. The wax impression revealed details of obstructions in the lock mechanism indicating the required details for a key. Thus enabling me to make a key that works after hours of patient filing and fitting.  See figure 2. What a treat to see my hard work paid off in the key working beautifully to open the lock!


Figure 1 Photo copy of original key                                                   Figure 2 The finished key that works

Now that access to the mill had been regained it was possible to arrange a mutually convenient date with Richard and John to meet up to obtain the mill measurements. John said that an early start on June 21 would be most suitable for him. We met on site about 8:45a.m. despite John having difficulty finding the mill because it was somewhat obscured by masses of vegetation. 

We gained entry opening the mill door using my new key, but, we felt we should let Richard know we were there in case he thought there were vandals in his mill; so we knocked loudly on the millhouse door. At first we did not get a response to our knocking, so increased the volume of knock……......when Richard finally arrived at the door he exclaimed that we had annoyingly woken him as he had only just got to sleep after returning from Stonehenge! He had been there to join with the throngs of other observers to watch the sun rise at the Summer Solstice! We apologised for such a rude awakening and he allowed us to carry on without him.


 fig.3 John Brandrick works while Peter watches  

John set about obtaining the necessary measurements to make his drawings see figure 3. He is a fast worker and had completed this task by the middle of the afternoon. We had a brief chat with Richard to agree on what details should be shown on the drawings and then John set out on his long drive back to Wales.

It takes him some time to transfer the multitude of datum points into his computer programme. But when this chore is complete the results are in, my opinion, magical. When all necessary data is entered into the PC the software makes it possible to view all aspects of the mill geometry from any angle. A sort of “Virtual Reality”! Just two of the views are shown at figures 4 and 5.



Figures 4…………………………………………………….. and 5

It is possible to see a comprehensive set of the drawings for both Hockley and Headley Watermills on this website, Hockley  Headley .

The images I feel are well worth looking at; in addition, fascinating 3D  drawings of many other mills are accessible through these links.

It is John’s mission to measure and record as many mills as possible. In this way he is confident that an extremely comprehensive permanent record of the mills is generated. These records will be available to future generations even if the original mills cease to exist.

Top Marks John, please keep up this invaluable work!   

Peter Mobbs August 2013


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