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Satanic mills

William Blake Opinions are divided on the question of what the poet William Blake was talking about when he referred to the ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ that plague ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ in his famous poem, best known as the hymn ‘Jerusalem’. It is often seen as a reference to the Industrial Revolution, and some…

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Time, the old miller

The mill as a metaphor for time and change is an ancient theme. St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) in his ‘Expositions on the Psalms’ described the world as a mill, because of the way the wheel of time is ever revolving and in the end crushes everyone. The ancient Greek proverb dating back to at…

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Mills make the world go round

Mills are most well-known for grinding corn into flour. Over the centuries mills powered by wind, water and other power sources have been used for many other types of industry. These series of newsletters will highlight a different use each month. You can find the full set here at https://new.millsarchive.org/2020/06/25/mills-make-the-world-go-round/.  Colour mills A variety of mills and milling…

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The Mill of Wealth

Mills have often featured in myth and legend. One ancient Norse poem, the Grottasongr or Lay of Grotti tells of a magical handmill, Grotti (literally ‘grinder’). So large that only the giants could turn it, the mill when ground could produce anything you wanted – wealth, peace, happiness. The mill belonged to a king of Denmark named Frothi (‘the…

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Archiving at home

This week is Volunteers’ Week, and to mark it we’d like to say a HUGE thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, who have stuck by us despite the pandemic. We have sorely missed their friendly faces in the office, not to mention all the help they offer in working through our collections and enriching our…

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Tales from Rex Wailes: With the windmillwrights in fen and marsh

An interesting find in the Rex Wailes collection is a typescript by Douglas Reid (1881-1934) titled ‘With the windmillwrights in fen and marsh’. The typescript seems to have been sent by Reid to Wailes for possible publication, and contains handwritten notes by Wailes. It is Reid’s account, complete with photographs, of his adventures in the Fenland and…

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The Devil’s Mill

The issue of The Miller dated 5 May 1930 contains this story about the ‘Devil’s Mill’ A miller’s apprentice loved a pretty peasant girl named Yvonne, but the young people concealed their deep affection from others, swore eternal fidelity and for a long time preserved their own secret. Meanwhile the ‘prentice laid plans for the…

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