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Volunteer Spotlight: Menier and the Chocolate Factory

February hosts a very popular and tasty-sounding celebration: National Chocolate Lover’s Month! In honour of this, our volunteer Susan has written a blog to get your taste buds tingling… A recent interesting read from my research at the Archive led me to the discovery of the Menier Chocolate Factory, the largest chocolate factory in France,…

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Michael’s Middle Eastern Adventures

In 2016 when Michael Harverson passed away, his collection of mill material was left to us. We knew his collection would be a valuable asset to the Archive. Of particular interest to Michael, and indeed to us, was his prolific study of Middle Eastern and Persian mills, more intimately those in Iran and Afghanistan. Michael…

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Gems of the Archive: Of Camels and Dragons

After being inspired by Dutch millwrighting last week, I was intrigued to explore how other cultures have developed and used similar methods. My research led me to discover a fascinating new world of milling technology. I have grown accustomed to reading about mills driven by oxen or donkeys, but the last thing I expected to…

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Gems of the Archive: The Universal Theatre of Machines

Hello, it’s me again. Unbelievably I am now halfway through my internship at the Mills Archive (insert obligatory Bon Jovi reference here), and the gem page is really starting to fill up. This week Mildred had a treat in store for me in the form of The Universal Theatre of Machines, an original 17th-century millwright’s…

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A windmill postcard with a message from war-torn Europe

This intriguing missive was found by volunteer Tom Hine. The picturesque windmill captured on the front of the postcard carries with it a message that jumped out at Tom for several reasons… The references to wartime The writer, Mr Dré Smit of Gouda, describes recent war developments to the recipient, Lottie. He writes that “The…

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Roller milling romances

With the romance of Valentine’s Day recently past, this blog is looking at some of the romantic stories that have been found whilst researching the history of roller milling. Throughout the early years of roller milling, there is a common factor between many firms, namely that they tended to be family-run businesses. This was true…

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Building windmills on top of watermills: The Derek Ogden Collection

To celebrate #GivingTuesday, we are highlighting a collection available for adoption. Today’s collection is the Derek Ogden Collection. A millwright for many years, Derek repaired mills throughout the UK until he moved to the USA in 1974, continuing his mill work across the pond. His life’s work is documented in detail in the notes, photographs…

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