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Newsletter 103, Winter 2013 © Hampshire Mills Group


Mills Research Group 2013 Conference

Report by David Plunkett


This was the first time that the MRG annual conference has been held in Totton, near Southampton.  Our venue was in the Totton & Eling Communitee Centre in the heart of Totton.  Members travelled from all around southern England and Wales to attend and so, on Saturday 28th September, after a prompt 10.30 a.m. start with warming tea or coffee, we progressed to the first presentation.


1)  The use of AutoCAD and rendering                    by John Brandrick.

2)  Some Mills on the River Kennett in Cornwall     by Alan Crocker.

3)  A field with 225 mill stones                                 by Philip Graves

4)  Watermills on the Whitewater River                  by David Plunkett.

5)  Research and History of Testwood Mill              by Roger Grier.

Each illustrated presentation was followed by questions and answers to satisfy our curiosity and ensure we gleaned as much information as possible from the speakers.  All presentations were recorded to assist future publication in MRG Proceedings.  At mid-day we enjoyed a buffet lunch.

On the following Sunday morning, we assembled outside Beaulieu Tide Mill with fewer numbers than I was expecting, our band of molinologists from across England were treated to an excellent conducted tour with much explanation of the past years since the fire of 2006.  Andy Phillips as clerk of works for the Beaulieu Estate, was most knowledgeable and fended questions and queries with expert intent.  The revised reuse of the mill with the building additions is very sympathetic and with the projected boat design company as tenants, looks very promising.  HMG members will have the opportunity to visit when final fitting out works are complete.

Next – on to the remains of Testwood Mill, just north of Totton on the River Test.  A brick water tower and various pumping equipment survives for our inquisitive eyes.  This mill was not rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1890.

Our lunch time stop was Eling Tide Mill where unfortunately the Mill was not operational but I conducted our party around the mill where I explained and operated the newly restored ‘Eureka’ grain cleaner.  Some members took time to examine the tidal sea gates while others explored the Heritage Centre and had a good lunch in the Eling Tea Room.

Our next mill was north east of Southampton at Waltham Chase Mill which had considerable restoration works applied to it in the past 20 years.  With its double pitchback, iron water wheels, it makes an impressive site.  Unfortunately the owner has rather neglected this mill in the past five or six years and it is not generally safe for unsupervised visits.

Finally, our last visit of the day was at Hampshire’s only surviving windmill at Bursledon.   Looking rather sad at this time due to removal of sails and awaiting funding to restore to working order once more.  We were treated to a good modern video presentation and guided by their miller up through the mill.  So ended, a very pleasant mill day, to round off a good Conference, once more.

The Mills Research Group welcomes new members with an interest in all forms of molinology without geographical boundaries and particularly the historical research required.

Has this whetted your appetite for being more than an armchair molinologist? Then contact David by email: david@millbowl.co.uk and share in the action.
Chase Mill, Bishop’s Waltham Testwood Mill Burseldon Windmill
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