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Treasures hidden in binbags

To celebrate #GivingTuesday, each week we will highlight a collection available for adoption. This week we are featuring the Armfield Drawings Collection. Yellowing, torn and crumpled, this collection comprises hundreds of attractive drawings of milling machinery. Created by the millwrighting and engineering firm Armfield between the 1870s-1920s, these documents provide valuable information about the construction of mill parts.

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Armfield Ltd is one of the most significant engineering companies in the history of British milling. From the late nineteenth century, Armfield produced turbines, waterwheels and accessory machinery to a very high standard and was famed for an attention to detail that saw it create bespoke products for each installation according to the particular needs of the site. By 1939 the company had sold over 1,000 machines worldwide. After the War it changed the focus of its business and moved into educational equipment.

This collection of technical drawings, blueprints and plans is, as far as we are aware, the most complete set of documents from this all but forgotten period in Armfield’s history. From one of the largest firms of its kind, this is one of the most important collections of milling-related technical drawings in the country. These manuscripts were severely neglected before finding their way to the Mills Archive. With painstaking work over many months, they have been carefully flattened and listed after being stored rolled up in black bin bags. They are in such disrepair that conservation is essential before they can be properly scanned and catalogued. This is how they looked when they were first salvaged and brought to us:

To find out more and to browse all the adoptable collections, click here.