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The Garden Party was a success!

Hello everyone! On Saturday we finally had our Mills Archive Summer Garden Party and even though it wasn’t cracking the pavements sunny, the garden still looked lovely and I think everyone who came managed to have a wander round at some point without having to take shelter! However, we were discussing that maybe we should arrange next year’s garden party at a time when the flowers are all out because as you can see from some of our previous blog posts, it really looks stunning when all the different coloured flowers are in bloom. As you can tell, next year’s planning starts now!

Poster Image

I’ll start with the exhibition hall in the garden. I have to admit that I headed there first because the buffet spread was amazing and I was desperate to grab some of those tiny pink cupcakes! There was a model of an Archimedean screw turbine. I actually popped in again at the end of the party and watched the screw being drained which was really interesting because when you see it working, the water is constantly moving so you don’t realise how much water is being used in this model to make it an accurate representation. As this was a scaled down model, it made me realise the strength and power that must be needed to make a real turbine work.

Sean had bought in some engineering models of steam rollers used in silk mills and threshing mills which were constantly in motion so they were really fascinating and rather hypnotic to watch! And he hopes to be able to bring even more next year! Also, along one wall was a stunning display called ‘Mills in Art’ consisting of paintings, drawings and photographs of mills all over the country.

Next I went into our office where I noticed an announcement had been made about receiving a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the new project ‘From Quern to Computer’, which Elizabeth told me will be a timeline on flour mills telling the story from its origins all the way to the computer driven roller mills we see today.

Next I explored the Founders Room. I have to say this was my favourite room so far. Not only do I love the Founders Room, but I really enjoyed all of the archaic blueprints, deeds and architectural drawings Nathanael had put on display. I recognised a document from 1841 I had seen last week and I even spotted a blueprint of a flour mill in Manchester!

So that is my update on the exhibitions at the garden party, but it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful as it was without the support of all of our Friends and Patrons. It was really great for Kate especially because she hasn’t been here long and she was able to be thrown in at full speed with all the different people who work together and contribute to the archives. I know I’ve said this before but it was great to be able to put faces to names I have heard so much about! Not only have our Friends helped to preserve our place in history as a safe home for mill collections, but in doing so, they have managed to solidify us a place in the future for the Mills Archives to be a successful ongoing and ever growing organisation.

This is a photo I took of the flour mill floor plan in Manchester

This is a photo I took of the flour mill floor plan in Manchester

One more thing! – I took away with me a blue booklet that was on display in the exhibition hall called ‘Proceedings of the twenty-third and twenty-fourth Mill Research conferences’ by The Mills Research Group. I had a read through it and thought you might be interested in one article that drew my attention called ‘Mills, Maladies and Magic’ about a series of masks called ‘Kleiekotzer’. Rather disturbingly ‘Kleier’ means bran and ‘kotzen’ means ‘to vomit’ and basically the flour is passed through a sieve so that the bran is poured out of the other end through the mouth of the mask – resulting in a rather gruesome image which was an ancient symbol of protection for the mill. Anyway, I won’t spoil the rest for you but I do recommend giving it a read as it is really interesting!

So yes, the Garden Party was a huge success thanks to the organisation of the staff at the archives! So a big thanks go to all the staff and volunteers here for making it a great day. One of our Trustees bought their puppy Eric and Mildred loved him so I’m afraid Eric may have to be present at all of our future events from now on! Also a special thanks to Anthony who I think we may have to hire as our personal archive photographer form now on!