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Working at the Mills Archive

My time working at the Mills Archive as Learning and Engagement Manager on the Heritage Lottery supported From Quern to Computer project has come to an end. It has been a pleasure to work on the project and meet some of you along the way.

Poster Image

The time has flown by since I started working two days a week at the Mills Archive in October 2015.  Working on the From Quern to Computer project has been a rewarding experience and I was delighted to return to the Mills Archive after having been a volunteer here when I was still at University.    

The project has been a challenge and I have enjoyed juggling the different elements of it.  I have spent many hours (much of this spent staring out of the window next to my desk at the beautiful Watlington House garden) thinking of ways to inspire people to take an interest in our shared flour milling history, from its ancient origins to the industrial processes of today.  Through the project we have produced several successful outputs that we are confident will have lasting benefits for the Mills Archive.

Liz and I at the 2016 Mills Archive Garden Party


Starting life as a national survey of flour mills, we launched the crowd sourcing competition the Great British Mill Race in May 2016 to coincide with the SPAB National Mills Weekend. We have received nearly 1000 images to our Flickr gallery, thank you to everyone who has entered!  And there is still time to enter (click here or share on social media using #gbmillrace), the Great British Mill Race is running until National Mills Weekend 2017.  (And I can confirm, the Great British Mill Race will not be sold to Channel 4 any time soon).

Latest entries to Flickr (Jan 2017)


The process of building a history of flour milling and finding ways to deliver that in usable and interesting digital and printed formats has presented some challenges – but we are delighted with the timelines, extended articles and booklet we have produced.  Our aim was to produce something of value for everyone: the flour milling history timelines you can dip in and out of, extended academic content if you want more information and our strikingly illustrated booklet to give you an overview of the whole topic.  


It was great to meet the representatives of some of our partner mills here at the Mills Archive, at the meeting of the Mills Consultation Group in March 2016.  This was a great chance to put faces to names (and mills!) and hear about how we could tailor our From Quern to Computer resources to meet the engagement needs of mills across the UK.

Mills Consultation Group meeting, March 2016, at the Mills Archive


The Mills Archive are blessed with fantastic collections housed in a wonderful historic building – it has been a pleasure to share the project and treasures from the collection with you all on social media.  Please like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter and instagram and get involved.  

So by way of signing off here’s one of my favourite pictures that we shared for this year’s National Archives Explore Your Archives, on a day celebrating #archivepioneers: mill hero Rex Wailes enjoying a nice cup of tea.