Our Symphony

The cost of everything we do is rising but we will not stop serving our heritage and those who protect it—our volunteers. We exist for them, millers, millwrights, collectors and you.

Where others would hoard records, we have built an award-winning resource for everyone to use. Now we need your help to preserve it. Help our volunteers to unleash their talents to do so and save our symphony.

Volunteer at the Mills Archive
Volunteers like Guy race to conserve collections as they reach us.

Creaking mill timbers create cascading motion through the clatter of metal teeth, the spinning of wheels and the grinding of stone. If one part of the symphony stops, nothing is milled.

So too is the Mills Archive the sum of its people. From those caring for the collections we receive to making them accessible online, rising costs risk throwing us out of tune.

1,431 boxes remain to be fully catalogued. The cost of doing so this year would be over £112,000. To store only a portion of these in our library and onsite store costs £11,800 a year.

Amanda extracting the key points from a nineteenth-century indenture.

The minds at the Mills Archive reveal these records to the world in our online catalogue. The annual cost of which has risen to £5,550 and will continue ascending. Your help enables our volunteers and interns to apply their talents and overcome these challenges.

A collection of indentures—mill contracts—present walls of almost illegible script dating as far back as 1552. Thankfully, these struck a chord with our volunteer, Amanda. She used her legal training to quickly precis these contracts, cataloguing and digitising 158 entries in under a month

“Volunteering at the Mills Archive has proven invaluable to my studies towards a post-graduate qualification in Archives and Records Management, allowing me to gain ‘hands-on’ experience. The process has also allowed me to contribute towards the Mills Archive’s essential work to preserve and promote the history of milling”—Amanda.

Help her to keep these insights into individual mills accessible by supporting our online catalogue.

Mills Archive Library
Susan with another mountain of books to climb.

With collections ranging from 93 books to 1,769, our volunteer Susan works tirelessly to catalogue them for the public to use. Her language skills mean that our library contains history from across the world. Susan’s ensemble of knowledge ranges from women in needle making to forged Napoleonic bank notes.

“The Mills Archive Trust is a great place with lots of opportunities to learn about the more hidden parts of history—forgotten people, places, industries and cultures—and find unexpected connections with the present. It’s lovely to be a part of a group of very focused people who are passionate about what they do”—Susan.

Volunteer at the Mills Archive
Marina’s help reveals the treasures of the Archive in our newsletters.

Newsletters are the crescendo of our finished collections. They reveal our archive’s wonderful gems for all of you. Having lost a staff member, we were struggling to send weekly newsletters. Our volunteer Marina found new ways to improve our newsletters and kindly agreed to lay them out each week, including this appeal. Marina wrote:

“From reading books to managing social media and creating newsletters, I am grateful for the chance to contribute to the Trust’s mission and make a meaningful impact.”

Help Marina share our discoveries by helping us maintain our newsletter software—a yearly cost of over £1,000.

Our volunteers not only increase the tempo of our work; they enrich all we offer. Your donations will help them to preserve knowledge and share it with the world.

Please consider supporting our volunteers to take on this challenge.

Alternatively, you can donate via cheque or bank transfer. Click here for more information.