People Appeal

Thank you to all of you who supported our previous appeals. You have enabled us to preserve and safely store the archival collections of millers, millwrights, researchers and more. Now we are focusing on the best assurance for preserving their legacies—preparing the next generation to take on the task.

It will fall to our volunteers and interns to preserve our shared heritage. We need your help to give them the space and training to prepare for this challenge.

Mills Archive Collections
Just some of the new collections we received in the last year.

Costs are rising quickly: an extra 50% on our offsite storage here, an extra 40% on archival packaging there. Meanwhile, volunteers must preserve a record number of new collections.

History is being rediscovered and created all the time. With your generous support, our volunteers and interns will rise with the tide, keeping our educational charity independent and accessible to all.

An ex-volunteer himself, our Archivist understands the need to invest in the next generation. With the help of experienced volunteer Amanda, he guided our first under-18 volunteer, Tzipi.

“I even had a go at appraising old archival material, sorting through the useful and beautiful collections of architectural plans, building contracts and letters, which was really fun and made me feel like Indiana Jones”—Tzipi.

Volunteers at the Mills Archive Trust
Tzipi “enjoyed this placement enormously”, going behind the scenes at the Archive.

Tzipi helped give a new lease of life to the Gelder and Kitchen Collection of the Hull Architectural firm, which was destined for the skip before we saved it in 2017. At the same time, she gained vital experience for university applications and her future career.

Volunteers handling collections
Guy has been instrumental in preserving the collection of the UK trade body, the Millers’ Mutual Association, pictured here.

Due to their size and number, we measure the care of collections in years. Volunteers race to prevent further decay. Then, they order the boxes, check for relevance, repackage, sort, list and add their details to our catalogue. Finally, they must scan, describe and upload records online.

This process costs £7,370 for 2926 records—the amount our volunteer Guy digitised from the mill researcher and photographer, Stephen Buckland’s collection. This is only a portion of the 70 boxes of records. “The level of detail in his descriptions of each mill he visited is, quite frankly, astonishing” wrote Guy. With five boxes left, you can help Guy make this meticulous research available to millwrights, researchers and the public.

Your generous donations have made these archival feats possible. But there is much work left to do. With your support over the coming months, our volunteers will be trained and ready to care for millions of records.

You can learn more about the work of our volunteers and interns by following the links below.

Our Symphony

The Mills Archive is a complex machine whose instruments our volunteers and interns must keep in harmony. Help them to utilise their talents to do so and preserve our collections.

Find out more about how the Archive’s work is shaped by the skills of our volunteers and interns. 


Passing the Torch

The long-term preservation of our heritage relies on the next generation taking on this task. Our volunteers and interns have gone on to safeguard heritage in institutions across the country. Your support will enable our current volunteers to do the same.

Discover how we are preparing our volunteers and interns to take up the task of preserving our heritage. 



The Eye of the Millstone

Without the intervention of our interns and volunteers, the stories of how the world was fed would remain hidden from view. Our digital catalogue and website illuminate this cornerstone of history. Volunteers and interns not only maintain this window in the past, but they also learn about milling’s impact on their own lives.

Read more about how our volunteers and interns are learning about milling and helping others to do the same.


Help our volunteers tell you about the discoveries they make in our catalogue and newsletters. Help them safeguard our milling history and acquire the experience they need to find success in the Mills Archive and beyond.

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