Kent has an amazing milling heritage and various Kent mills-related events and research interests have surfaced recently. Surely the time is ripe to consider (re)forming a regional mill group to cover Kent? Certainly the Mills Archive would offer tangible support to such a new group.
Although the previous Kent group was dissolved, the thinking behind regional mills groups seems sound. In fact a new group has recently been formed in Cambridgeshire as The East Anglian Mills Society, which announced its arrival in Mill News and on its new Facebook page – see http://www.millsarchivetrust.org/index.php/blogs/more/the_east_anglian_mill_society_has_a_facebook_page
Rob Cumming has pointed out that the earlier Kent Group was in a state of inertia for a number of years, particularly with regard to new research and he has said he would like to see a group formed especially if it was a pro-active one – seehttp://www.millsarchivetrust.org/index.php/blogs/more/should_you_belong_to_a_mills_group
Rob puts forward some ideas and I am starting this new thread so that we keep a discussion separate to the discussion on COGS and should you belong to a group, elsewhere in Mill Writing.
Like Rob, we (of course) would like to see a group supporting research, but there is also a need for practical help for local mills. You only have to look at the successful mills groups across the border in Sussex and further along the coast to Hampshire and Wessex to see what is possible.
If you are at all interested why not comment on this post and add to the list of suggested issues that need addressing? Rob has already highlighted the need for research and for taking an interest and supporting mill repair. He has also added that West Kent should be better covered next time. Personally I would like to see more interest in the county’s watermills – see Alan Stoyel’s new book on the mills of the Rivers Cray and Darent. The worrying state of Stodmarsh windpump was mentioned by Rob; Guy Blythman is already advertising for a metal detector to find all the bits that are falling into the dyke.
What do you think?