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Unusual places to find a mill

This article first appeared on our blog in January 2018.  Boat Mill, 19th century (Mills Archive Collection, MCFC-ENG-064) If asked to name traditional mills, most people would probably name windmills, watermills, possibly tide mills, but less would name ‘floating mills’, also known as ‘boat mills’ or ‘ship mills’. These were structures that had the outside appearance…

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Form of an Appointment of an Agent of Millers

This week’s gem from the Owen Ward Collection gives a glimpse of the role mills would have played in an invasion of Britain by Napoleon. The French Revolution of 1789 plunged Europe into lengthy wars. The Treaty of Amiens of 1802 between Britain and the new French leader Napoleon Bonaparte led to a brief respite…

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Moroccan Mills 3 – The Mill in the Community

Michael Harverson Michael Harverson (1937-2017) was one of the founding trustees of the Mills Archives. A particular interest of his was the mills of the Middle East, and in his collection we have several accounts of his travels, illustrated with photographs. In 1985, Michael Harverson spent several months in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, searching for watermills.…

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Toy Theatre

This week’s Gem is an unusual item from the Alan Stoyel Collection. It is a set of papers with images for the characters and scenes of a toy theatre play, “The Miller and his Men”. In the early 19th century the toy theatre was one of the most popular children’s toys. You could buy a…

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Heage Windmill has problems

Alan Gifford (Founder Trustee) Early illustration of Heage windmill with four sails, Unknown artist, 2005(scan of original from c 1890), Mills Archive Collection, SMDN-19211 Heage Windmill, near to Belper in Derbyshire, was built in c 1795 and worked until 1919. It was partially restored to present a good visual image by its owners, Derbyshire County Council, in…

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Milling in 19th century Norway

This article first appeared on our blog in May 2020. While sat in a meeting in our Founders’ Room, my eyes travelled across the spines of the antiquarian books visible from my seat, and I couldn’t help but notice a small, gold-decorated book covered in tan-coloured leather. The name of the book was too small…

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1552 Indenture

It’s time for the third in our series of 21 gems of the Mills Archive. In the last two newsletters we looked at both the oldest and the largest artefacts we hold. This week we are looking at the oldest document in our archives, a legal deed in the Mildred Cookson collection dating from 1552.…

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Mills on the Chelmer

This week’s newsletter is another extract from the writings and sketchbooks of John Munnings (1916-1987), this time on the mills on the river Chelmer, Essex.Many of the mills around Chelmsford were run by members of the Marriage family. Much of my knowledge about this family derives from Llewellen and Samson Marriage, who I used to…

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