Early views of mills from glass negatives & slides
Frank Gregory’s collection includes a set of evocative views of derelict and working mills which date from the days when high-quality photography involved the use of glass negatives and transparencies.
Before the mass-production of the 35mm colour transparency, the first slide shows used magic lanterns to project images from fragile glass slides. These were significantly bigger, at 82mm (3 1/4″) square, and of course much heavier. The quality of the images is invariably excellent.
As part of the FGOL project, all of the glass slides and negatives collected by Frank have been scanned at high resolution, and can be viewed online. This process inspired the Mills Archive to digitise its own collection of several hundred glass plates and negatives, providing an unrivalled resource of early pictures of windmills, watermills and mills of other types.
To see all of Frank’s glass plates and lantern slides, click here. A gallery of selected images appears below.
Horse & cart
The entrance to the mill yard at Sheffield Mill, Furner’s Green, near Fletching, East Sussex. This watermill, seen on the right, has been preserved and the waterwheel restored to working order.
A coloured lantern slide, labelled simply ‘Old Mill’.
Hollow post mill, Norfolk Broads
Boatyard scene with derelict hollow post drainage windmill. The pump – precise location unknown – has been reduced to two common sails and has twin tail fins to catch the wind.
Garden party near Ringmer
A very upper-class picnic in the rear garden of a large house, c1920. Ringmer windmill, East Sussex, can be seen on top of a hill in the background to the photograph.
Outing to Ringmer Mill
A smartly-dressed group outing poses for a photograph in front of the roundhouse of Ringmer post mill, East Sussex. The photograph must date from around 1920 as the mill collapsed in 1925.
Collapsed post mill at Ringmer
The collapsed remains of Glyndebourne Mill, Ringmer, East Sussex. High winds may have been the cause of destruction of this fine post mill which stood in a prominent position on the Sussex Downs. The centre post of the mill has been re-erected as a landmark.
Burnt windmill at Mark Cross
A demolition party moves in to sift through the burnt wreckage of the windmill at Mark Cross, Sussex, which caught fire and was destroyed on 26th July 1911. The shell of the mill has since been converted to a house.
Mark Cross Mill converted
Frank’s 35mm colour slide of the converted Mark Cross mill taken from the same spot, c1960.
A fine metal overshot waterwheel, possibly at a Sussex watermill – location presently unknown.
Cattle-driven oil mill
Animal-powered oil mill and workers, Africa.
Bevel gears, Shermanbury Mill
A superb set of bevel gears and lay-shafts suspended from the floor above at Shermanbury Mill.
Rigg Mill, Whitby
Derelict waterwheel and adjacent weir, much overgrown, at Rigg near Whitby, East Yorkshire.
Two African ladies milling corn using a rotary quern. Cultural traditions dictated that this was not a process carried out by the males of the community.
Ambleside watermill, Lake District
A picturesque stone-built watermill with an external wheel at Ambleside in the Lake District.