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The Decline of Wind and Water Mills

1: Overview
2: The heyday of mills
3: New technology
4: Mill preservation


There was a time when every village had its wind or watermill; when mills were everywhere – an essential part of the economy. But over the past few centuries they have all but vanished. Slowly, the development of new technology drove traditional mills out of business, until today the few that are still capable of working are preserved as relics of a lost past. Many more remain as ruins or have been converted to other uses such as houses.

The collections of the Mills Archive allow us to tell the story of how this change came about. They also tell another story – of the people who sought to save the disappearing mills for posterity, and who created or preserved much of the material in the archive.