A book came my way recently which has managed to shed a little light on more of our local mills; specifically those in Weardale. The Disappearing Mills and Bread Ovens of Weardale by Christine Ruskin, was published in 2017. The book more specifically covers corn mills but managed to add two new sites to the database, Frosterley Mill and Goosecroft Mill. new information like this is always useful and just helps add to the understanding of the subject. Detailed research in a local area often highlights sites that have not come to light through more general research and some mills simply get missed when pouring over maps and plans.
A new book has just been published covering two of our Northumberland Mills. Waren Mill on the edge of Budle Bay and Spindleston Mill, a short distance inland, are considered in detail between the years of 1735 and 1914. The mills were part of the Greenwich Hospital Estates and have a strong link to the well known engineer John Smeaton. There is a huge amount of detail about the two mills and their passage from the Estate to the Short Family that were heavily involved in milling in the Berwick and borders area.
The book is available for £8 from the newsagent in Belford and Clarks in Bamburgh. Alternatively it can be purchased for £10 to be sent out. please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The history of Waren Mill – as well as some of the other nearby mills – is covered in an exhibition at Belford Museum. The history and workings of the mill are looked at on a number of panels around the room including a disagreement between millwrights during its construction.
In due course we look forward to a book on the mill on which the exhibition is based but there is a huge amount of additional information available too.
Waren Mill in 2004 looking over the ruins of another watermill. (c) Duncan Hutt
Waren Mill in 2001 (drawing by John Buxton)
Information and history about our local mills continues to be added, albeit slowly. The latest two additions are historical information from Eric Griffith on Waren Mill and Denwick Mill. Often information gets added following a request for details about a particular mill so please use the Contact us page should you have any requests. Also please get in touch if you can offer any information to be added here. We can use historical research and miller information and will add old photographs where it is practical to do so.
The meeting on 3 October took the inevitable but still disappointing decision to formally wind up the NEMG. However it was decided that a web presence would remain and that we would try to continue to encourage support of local mills and milling without being a formally constituted body with paid up members. Thus we will look to support other groups of relevance and maintain this website as a resource. While there will be no newsletters we will seek to publish pages on this site to disseminate information. Please also make use of the comments options on pages to add information on specific subjects or the contact us page to make contact – submission of articles that can be added here are always most welcome!
The final meeting of a fully constituted NEMG…
It seems unlikely that the North East Mills Group can survive as a formally constituted society (although this web presence will remain). In light of this we are holding a meeting at 10am on 3 October 2015 at Path Head Mill (Summerhill, Blaydon, Tyne and Wear NE21 4SP). Unless there is renewed enthusiasm to maintain the group and for others to step forward to help run it, it is likely that this will see the commencement of a formal winding up process for the group. We would, however, be keen to find a more informal mechanism to retain support for our local mills and a means to disseminate information. If you were not a member but are interested in participating please contact us via the page on this web site.
Eric Griffith in 1971 studying a waterwheel in Felton Mill
Eric Griffith was born in London in 1901 but moved to the North East and when he retired in 1961 he began to research the local watermills of Northumberland. He was accompanied on many of his visits by Ken Major and together they catalogued most of the county’s mills. Eric died in 2000 at the age of 99 but left behind a carefully typed manuscript detailing his visits to and research on most of Northumberland’s mills. The manuscript was never published but selected entries are being added to this site on a section dedicated to his work. See the page Eric Griffith Research within the Mill Research section