Posted on

Holman Bros., Millwrights of Canterbury: A history

Swanton Watermill, Mersham

Swanton Mill, Mersham
Swanton Mill, Mersham. Photo: Jean Weir

Overshot wheel built by Holmans of Canterbury

Mostly repair work.

They were one of the few firms in Kent to have a large enough lathe to turn wood for wheel shafts. It also was used to turn metal axles for rolls of paper at Aylesford paper mill.

Letter from M. Hancock & Son, Mersham Mills, Ashford, Kent, dated 30 January 1946:

Dear Sirs

re Swanton Mill

Thank you for your letter this morning, what we had in mind was that You (including Mr. Holman Senior and Mr. Barber would come down one day in Spring convenient to us all and make a survey of the above property.

The old portion of the Mill is unrepairable and has not been used except for limited storage since 1941, it has also suffered from bombing in the vicinity.

The little overshot wheel however is in good working order, and we wondered if the old portion of the mill could be removed and the Wheel adapted to drive say one or two pairs of stones which could be fitted to the opposite side of the wheel of the present cog pit which if you remember is in a low pit subject to flooding. This may not of course be a practical proposition, but it seems such a pity to see the little wheel standing idle when so much use could be made of the water power now running to waste.

It is said that since Roller Flour Milling came into operation no less than 20,000 little country mills have become derelict throughout the country, what an asset they would have been to us during the War as they mostly ran on natural resources of fuel.

I believe that even now much more could be made of natural power, restoring local industries and retaining men in the countryside instead of allowing them to drift away to the towns and so losing contact with the soil.

I am sure that if this could be done a happier countryside would result.

I will get in touch with you again and endeavor to fix a time convenient to us all.

Yours faithfully
P Hancock