With the summer heatwave already fading into a distant memory I have come to the end of my internship. The last three months have flown by, but fifty-one gems later I can safely say I have learnt a huge amount about archives, mills and milling. With a greater appreciation for the incredible stories that lie behind a simple loaf of bread or slice of cake, I will never look at a mill in the same way again.
My summer here at the Archive has opened my eyes to a whole host of hidden history which I had never before considered, stretching from Iron Age Querns to modern Wind Turbines and everything in-between. I am hugely grateful to Liz, Ron and Mildred for this opportunity to contribute to the continuing growth of the Archive and for the chance to develop skills that will come in very handy as I go into my final year of University and beyond.
Rather appropriately, the final Gem I have been working on this week is titled ‘Planning the Future’. It is a collection of Roller Mill plans by Henry Simon, which date from 1886 and signal the transformation of the centuries-old milling tradition into the birth of the modern milling industry. This was a monumental milestone on the milling timeline, and one which is integral to the narration of milling history.
With the completion of this last Gem, very excitingly the Gems of the Archive web pages are nearly ready to go live. Since their beginnings a couple of years ago, they have been devotedly worked on by myself and the previous intern, Lydia, and have grown into a veritable treasure trove of tales. I am very proud to see them reach this stage and I hope they will be well polished and looked after by interns in the future, and be a true asset to the Archive. Stay tuned for their official launch in the next couple of months!
All that leaves me to say is a massive thank you to everyone at the Mills Archive. My time here has increased my passion and conviction in the importance of opening up access to archival holdings and the incredible stories they contain, and has given me the opportunity to do just that. There is a lovely atmosphere here at the Archive, and everyone has made me feel very welcome – I’ve really enjoyed working alongside such knowledgeable and skilled people. I’ve had a fantastic time and I look forward to watching the Archive continue to grow and develop. Goodbye for now.