Although we get a steady stream of enquiries at the Mills Archive, most originate from family historians or owners of mills with very specific interests. Where are the researchers with a wider field of enquiry? As an interested observer, rather than a subject specialist, I expected groups such as the Mills Research Group to have more active members. We need to get things moving again!
Looking at the wealth of mill material published in the last century and earlier, it contrasts sharply with what appears now. Has all the work been finished? Was Rex Wailes always right? Interesting work still appears, in the MRG Conference Proceedings, in Melin, in the Midlands Wind and Water Mills Group Journal and in International Molinology. But what happened to the flow of papers in the Newcomen Society Transactions and other journals? Perhaps the time has come for a new stimulus. How about a Research Competition with a suitable prize? Surely we can get sponsorship for (say) an annual award of £1000. That is so much more than researchers are likely to get by publishing a book!