Watermill – Millgreen

Watermills were first used in and around what is now Iraq and Turkey about 300 BCE and would have come to England with the Romans. In Elizabethan times, there were watermills at each end of London Bridge which made the difficulties caused by rip tides through the remaining arches much worse.   I have seen it written that they use the power of water but in fact it is the power of gravity and running water is the transmitter of power rather as an axle is.  This is called Stream Power and there is an interesting and complex calculation needed to determine the power in a stream.  I did not know this when we went to visit the watermill and museum at Mill Green  nor had I thought to write a blog of the visit so did not take a photo of the outside which was an attractive wooden building attached to the brick-built house that was once for the manager but is now the museum.

The water wheel is just fabulous to see with its Elm paddles which would be fastened with nails of Holly Wood.  Here is a short video of it:

 

Pit wheel

The water wheel is driven by the flume at six rpm.  It is connected to the pit wheel, with 104 apple wood gear teeth by a large horizontal shaft of oak and this meshes with the wallower with 33 teeth taking the revolutions to 19 per minute.   The wallower joins with the Spur wheel via a vertical shaft and as this gear wheel has 112 teeth and in turn meshes with the 23 on the stone nut the running stone turns at 92 rpm to grind the flour.  Well, I find this fascinating, the gearing up through huge oak shafts driving wheels and gears of apple wood with Holly wood nails used when fixing is required.  The whole turns with a certain majesty and quiet rumblings.  Here are some photos and another video.

 

Wallower meshing with the pit wheel

 

Spur wheel with wallower underneath meshing with the pit wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I noticed some graffiti, in 1824 a C. Bonico carved their name amongst old wood worm. I expect that the black squares are the ends of Holly wood nails.

 

 

Here is another view of the mechanism:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The miller was a magician in white explaining all to me, children, mums and dads.  He showed the sock with grain running though the centre of the runner stone where it floated this turning stone keeping it apart from the fixed bedstone.  This prevents the stones wearing away, and the grain is milled to flour and drops down to the floor below where the miller catches it in a sack.

The magician
Catching the flour
Hey presto, the flour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the water wheel, there is a glass panel in the floor and I was fascinated by the flashing blades.

 

All in all, an enjoyable visit that I can recommend.  The staff are friendly and joyfully enthusiastic which was wonderful.  As well as the mill there is a small museum of 1960s clothes some of which I remember my sister wearing.

The whole experience inspired a poem and here it is!

Watermill – Mill Green

The gentle pace of the watermill its Elmwood paddles turning,
in the flume’s slow-revving flow.
Oaken shafts secured with Holly nails, geared with Applewood teeth,
104 on the pit wheel, 33 the wallower,
then the spur wheel, and stone nut, take this languorous pirouette
from six to ninety-two rpm, 15 feet above the race.

 There is a graffito carved amongst long – gone woodworm;
Bonico stayed a while enough to do this
but I move in the soft light, look down through a glass pane,
see the paddles splash and flash by.
Others are here, families with children who too sense the past
carried in timbers heavy with memory.

 The sound of the mill is gentle too. A rush of water, rumble of wood on wood.
The miller, magician in white,
shows us grain pouring through a sock, to float the runner on its bedstone,
to be milled to the powder that is flour
as has been done for the thousand years after the Domesday book;
soke demanded by the Lord of the Manor.

 © Anthony Fisher April 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guernsey Literary Festival – On the Move

The beginning of May, we were in Guernsey for its Literary Festival.  Valerie’s poem 1960 was one of the winners of “Poems on the Move” and her poem will be displayed for one year on Guernsey buses and Aurigny aircraft.  There was a reading at Elizabeth College we wanted to attend;  It was a proud moment.  Valerie’s poem was inspired by her 15 year old self in Enfield.  Queen Elizabeth I lived in Enfield and she as a good poet so there is an intriguing link.

Waiting for the cue to begin
The Winners
Waiting to read

 

Here is a video of Valerie Reading.

 

The next day we rented a car so we could tour around the coast.  The last time we did this I kept getting lost.  Guernsey is only 23 square miles but is run through with a tangled network of narrow roads with very few signposts and even fewer road names!  Enfield is 32 square miles of which 51% is farmland and only 25% are residential homes housing the 325,000 population.  Compared to Guernsey’s 65,000 it is crowded but signs and road names mean it is difficult to get lost.  We do not however have the lovely coastline, harbours and bays.

We drove North along the coast road and stopped in St Sampson.  Here I sat and gazed at the Harbour whilst Valerie and my sister Sarah visited the many charity shops.  There is quite a lot of industry here as you can see in the photo.  Valerie came back with a splendid earthen ware mug.  Just right as a present for the recipient she has in mind.

 

Next was L’Ancresse bay and we stopped to take in the view.  The sun was shining, the beach beautiful;  just right for a photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then drove to a rocky bay, I cannot remember which but it was close by and I took a video with my iPhone which is fitted with a Rode mic and windshield but the wind was very strong, as you can hear, so the wind intruded a bit.  I like to see rocks and islets.

 

We then drove to meet Janine for lunch in La Grande Mere.  Valerie and Janine met in Primary school when they were about five and have kept in touch despite Janine moving to Guernsey in the 60s.  I always like to hear her tales of island life and it was a lovely get together.

We were staying in St Peter Port which is a delightful town though traffic and parking can be a nightmare.  One of the attractions is the Guernsey Tapestry.  I did not take any photos but it is a good web site if you click on the hot link.  An inspired idea to celebrate the millennium, the Tapestry is strictly embroidery, it tells the history of Guernsey over the last 1000 years.  The designs and workmanship are staggering and I very much enjoyed the visit and recommend it to you.

An enthusiastic volunteer told me of the oldest pillar box in continuous use in the UK that was just a step away.  An idea copied from France.  It was decided to try it out in Guernsey as it could be closely monitored.   It was an immediate success and post boxes were then introduced into the UK.

Post boxes in Guernsey are blue but this has been restored to the original livery.

The dates can be seen on the nearby plaque.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The harbour used to be just in front of the houses built into a steep hill.  Nowadays the steps, or stairs, no longer lead down to a jetty but to the road. They are still very steep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the reclaimed land from the harbour and how steep the hill is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally another view of the daisy Chain.

Chin and disy St Peter Port