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Newsletter 104, Spring 2014  © Hampshire Mills Group


Notes on a meeting of the Hampshire Mills Group held at Ashlett Tide Mill on Dec 7, 2013

By Alison Stott


Members began arriving at mid-day and once again we were lucky enough to have beautiful weather; the millpond, or what had once been the millpond, reflected the autumn colours with Southampton sunlit in the distance.

As before, we had the large top floor room for the meeting with the buffet laid out and a bar in the corner.    Members enjoyed this until the meeting began at 2 pm.

Andy Fish welcomed everyone and thanked the staff at Ashlett Tide Mill for their hospitality.

He thanked Sheila Viner, our retiring newsletter editor, for the fantastic job she has done over the last five years and twenty editions.   She has kept us up-to-date with all the latest mill news – and the recipes have helped him maintain his weight (which is no easy task!!).   Sheila is looking forward to spending more time researching the history of Berkshire watermills and hopes to publish it in book form.   The Committee gave Sheila a card and gift to thank her.

Ros Plunkett (who was editor before Sheila took on the job) is taking on the task again; please would members send her any mill news, articles, pictures etc. that they have got.

Dave Plunkett explained what has been happening at Eling Tide Mill, which had been shut for a year while the culvert base was consolidated, the sluice gate bottom boards repaired and the cill rebuilt.
Unfortunately the cill is too high and the water does not hit the blades of the waterwheel correctly.   HMG has sent a letter to the New Forest District Council about this problem and a meeting will be arranged shortly.
Dave hopes that all will be well by the end of March.  The flour that has been produced has been reasonable and he has been able to clean all the grain using the Eureka before milling.  Commercial customers are now returning.
There was a discussion about the new miller who will be required.  The erratic hours that a tide mill is able to work make this a rather uncertain occupation.  It is possible the person appointed could be a delivery driver as well.

King Alfred Buses will be running on New Year’s Day and will call at Twyford Water Works and Hockley Mill – City Mill too will be open all day.

Alex Vincent, a new member, brought along a new book he has written “Tide Mills of Sussex”.  He had some copies for sale.   These mills were mostly in the Chichester Harbour area, and  also further east.

John Silman had three mill pictures which he showed to members.  He hoped they could put names to them.  He has  passed them to the Mills Archive Trust to be added to the collection.

At Whitchurch Silk Mill Ian Clark is starting work on the wheel.  It should be rebuilt by the spring.  They still need sluice gates.

Alison Stott had an e-mail from Oliver Barnes thanking Dave Plunkett very much for advising and helping him with his leaking millpond.

The afternoon concluded with a number of short films about textile mills, an old wartime one about fighting a fire on an ammunition truck, involving a steam engine and another one with background shots of Longbridge Mill with adventurous boys leaping into the River Loddon (beside the sluices!)

These short films provided a most entertaining end to the meeting and many thanks to Andy and Rob Fish.


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