This Newsletter contains printed materials recovered using OCR technology
|2. Burne Jones Centenary 1833-1898
||John Viner celebrates the centenary of this great artist
|3. Surrey mills
||Derek Stidders talk on the Mills of Surrey
|4. Letter received from Mr Ray Bentley||Mr Ray Bentley stresses the place of watercress in the industrial history of the Wandle|
|5. Museum's week 1998 16th - 24th May 1998:
||We look forward to the visit of the Borough Coach Tour|
|6. Stop Press: Ravensbury Mill and HLF
||Our bid for funding rejected, and what next|
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The Vestry Hall Annexe -London Road - Mitcham -Surrey CR4 3UD - Telephone: 0181-648 0127 .
Mills have been a passion of Derek's for some time now and he has written one book on mills and is preparing another. Till now he had not explored the mills on the Wandle and this is something he feels he would now be interested in doing.
Mills were an important part of village life and most villages had. their own mill, the first mills were mainly flour mills. A great many of these mills were water mills. Although important to the community millers were not the most popular people, instead of money they took payment in kind and farmers often felt that the miller helped himself to a greater share of the wheat than he was supposed to. There were no poor millers!
The coming of the railways created larger markets and with these came larger mills, these roller mills produced the white flour that was becoming fashionable. This was because the wheat germ had to be removed as it stuck to the rollers. The smaller mills could not compete with these large mills and many went out of business. Some of the mills were able to convert to other products such as animal food and, of course, not all mills were flour mills. Some of the other things produced by the mills were, gunpowder, fuller's earth, wire and paper.
Many of these mills are now in a very sad state of repair. Some have been converted into homes and this has helped to preserve them but many are derelict and as so often is the case it is only when they are nearly lost that it is realised that an important part of our industrial history is being lost.
Derek spends as much time as he can travelling around looking at mills, and he told us that he is continually surprised by how willingly the people who live in converted mills let this rather large unknown person into their homes to look round. Many are quite happy to leave him to ferret around on his own, though one lady who let him in left him saying she was going to do some shopping only to return with a policeman. Fortunately, he was able to convince them that he really was a mill mad man not just mad!
His talk was illustrated by slides he had taken of the many mills he had managed to visit or the remains of mills he wished he had found in time.
Meg Thomas 29/3/98