The Last Word  from Albert

Luck played its part in providing some appropriate words to complete the story of Albert's love of photography. And the more so, for they are his. I found them from a footnote in an article entitled 'Old Worcestershire Water Mills'. The footnote read: 'Mr.A. D. Chambers made interesting references to the scythe mills, and to other mills in the Kidderminster district, in an address reported in the Kidderminster Shuttle, March 24th, 1934.'

Kidderminster Shuttle 24th March, 1934.   

Kidderminster Field Club    Address by Mr A. D. Chambers. 

"Water mills, windmills, and some other mills" was the title of an informative and most interesting address given by Mr. A. D. Chambers to the members of the Field Club on Friday 2nd March. The effectiveness of the lecture greatly enhanced by a series of slides from photographs taken over a period of 40 years or more, so that members were able to appreciate views of landmarks which have long since disappeared. Mr AC Parry, J.P., presided over a large attendance. 

Mr Chambers said that their old water mills and windmills had for many centuries supplied cheap and useful power, and in many instances they added charm and beauty to the landscape. Many of the old mills had gone for ever, and their destruction was a distinct loss. He had experienced great pleasure in taking a camera and bicycle and following a stream which led usually to old watermills, waterfalls, glens, and all that was beautiful. Before referring to the mills in the vicinity of Kidderminster, the lecturer referred to Downton Mill, on the Teme, five miles below Ludlow, as a typical country mill  which ground the wheat to make the daily bread of the district. The earliest mill in Kidderminster was Goodwin's, which gave its name to Mill Street and belonged formerly to the Minister. In olden days the water mills were valued on account of their power, and Kidderminster was stated to have had two such mills, one, no doubt, on the site of the Town Mill ( Goodwins), and the other according to Dr Burton, was probably Mitton Mill, near Stourport. If that was true the mill in New Road near the castle was probably of later origin. Chaddesley had three mills, and the remains of one of mill pool and sluice could still be seen in the field opposite the church. The second would probably be at Longmore, and the third at Swancote; there the mill was traceable for half a mile, and the site of the mill and road up to it was still to be seen. The old double wheel mill at Broadwaters moved a huge hammer at Messrs Banks and Hutton's forge. 

Showing slides of a building near the Wire Mill, Wolverley, and of Heathy Mill, Comberton, the lecturer next turned to the mill at the timber yard, Charlton, near Hartlebury. Lower down on the same stream, as it flowed near Hartlebury Common was Titton Flour Mill, and a couple of miles away was the stream that once turned the mill at Elmley Lovett. Here was the horseshoe arch, and near by it the sluice and waterfall; the building, like the old Manor House, was no doubt a pretty half-timbered one, for there was an ornamented stone in the wall bearing the letters H. T. 1645. Those were the initials of Henry Townsend, who possessed three-quarters of the manor of Elmley Lovett and his family held it till 1742. One of the Churchill Mills was only about 300 yards from Blakedown station, and although now derelict it was grinding corn well within the lecturer's memory. The other two mills at Churchill worked forges where spades and shovels were made. 

Mills Used for Many Purposes. 

While most of the windmills and a large proportion of the water mills were used for grinding wheat, they were also employed for timber sawing, paper-making, cloth making, spinning, weaving, wire making, edge-tool grinding (as in the Belbroughton district), and a variety of other trades. Several of the Belbroughton scythe mills were shown and the speaker stated that the old mill at the bottom of the village had been replaced by a rockery garden in which the water tumbling over the stones made a pleasing a picture. On the same brook, but lower down, was Drayton Scythe Mill, which possessed an enormous waterwheel inside the building. Recently this worn-out wheel was replaced by a turbine. Below Hill Pool, near Chaddesley, was the mill wheel which served the old spinning mill of Messrs. Brinton's about 100 years ago. Astley Mill, a pretty half-timbered structure, was still working, but Witley Mill, had been silent for many years. The Ludlow and Craven Arms district included many fine mills, including Broomfield Flour Mill, the Saw Mill, Church Halford Mill, Oaker Mill, and Silvington Mill on this side of Clee Hill. Passing the old paper mill at Cleobury the lecturer said Detton Mill was working till quite recently, while the Wrickton Mill was still in progress.


Very few Midland windmills were remaining, and the only two - one in Derbyshire and one near Brighton - were, in the memory of the lecturer, still working. Windmills could be divided into two sections, namely;  (1) German mills, where the whole structure was on a moveable base or post; and (2) Dutch mills, where only the top portion moved round. Their nearest windmill was at Areley Kings, and belonged, like many other mills, to the church. The sails had gone, and the building turned into a dwelling. Two typical German mills were those at Danzey, in the Forest of Arden, and at Napton-on-the-Hill, near Leamington, the latter having been used until 30 years ago. The windmills at Hatton, Kineton and Norton Lindsey were more or less ruins but that at Windmill Hill near the Fosse Way, was still pumping water. The windmill at Burton Dasset, Edge Hill was a famous one as near here, according to one authority, Charles 1 set up the Royal Standard prior to the Battle of Edgehill in 1642. Nearby was Prince Rupert's Tower which served as his headquarters during the fight, and had the Prince kept his position there he would doubtlessly have smashed the Parliamentary Army. A windmill just outside Brighton was still used to grind cement, but those at Enville Common (Check Hill), Weatheroak Hill, near the Roman Portway, and Halboro Green, near Redditch were in a state of decay. 

Mr. Chambers then quoted several lines of verse to illustrate the fact that much had been written about windmills. Unreliability to work at all times was the cause of their being superseded. Two interesting mills were at Clifford, near Hay, and at Castle Morton. Here by means of a stone trough and a donkey, apples were crushed and cider made. Bluntington Mill was used for pumping water and others, notably at Broom Hill, Brockencote, to frighten birds. 

Welsh and Mills and waterfalls. 

The lecturer, before turning to the Welsh mills, first showed slides of such well-known beauty spots as the Swallow Falls, near Bettws-y-coed, a little below which was a turbine which supplied the surrounding district with electricity. The old Pandy Mill, Bettws-y-coed was covered by foliage and was a favourite resort of all landscape artists. In the same district was Pentrefelin, which in Welsh meant 'mill village.'  Mills at Llewyngwyril, near Barmouth, and at Pont dol Goch, impressed by their beauty. Central Wales contained many mills turned by the stream, those at Rhayader, Brecon and Devynock being thrown on the screen. Mills at Carmarthen and St. David's were in ruins but a large windmill at Twr-y-felin, St. David's had been turned into a hotel. Returning nearer home, Mr. Chambers showed Mills at Arley and Beobridge near Claverley, and in the same district it was thought that an aperture at the old Roman camp at the Walls, Chesterton, near Bridgnorth was the site of a Roman mill. Probably of a very primitive nature, the mill would have been sufficient for grinding corn for the Roman soldiers, and the millstream was traceable for more than a quarter of a mile. That the Romans had water mills was borne out by the fact that at Uriconium a field bore the name Rue Mill Field - no doubt the Roman Mill Field. 

After showing several delightful views of the Severn Valley, the lecturer turned to Crows Mill, with its waterfall and floodgate, which he well remembered working, but which was now in a ruinous condition. Higher up the stream was Allam Mill, recently pulled down after the wheel had been sold for old iron during the war. Several mills lay near Bridgnorth, of which the old flour mill was still working and the Clecker Mill demolished. Mills at Alvechurch, Stoke Prior, Guy's Cliff (Warwick), Weobley, Dunster, Tewkesbury and Bibury, Market Drayton and Monmouth, were of infinite value not only on account of their picturesque beauty but also because of their historical interest. 11_files/a%20d%20c%20lecture.cwk

And a big Thank You from the rest of us too

This is the end of Albert’s story

To read my diary of how it came to be uncovered Click here

A Church, a Mill and a Waterfall

Mr Chambers said he had always longed to find a scene which contained a church, a mill and a waterfall. He had obtained several, at Uldale (Cumberland), Bromfield (Ludlow) and best of all three, of a lovely scene in Durham. Nearby, Dr. J. B. Dykes was inspired to write those immortal hymn tunes whose music blends so perfectly with the words.

Concluding, the lecturer remarked that though the old mills were slow and unreliable, they did much useful work, and produced good flour.

Besides being such a cheap form of power, the old mills were decidedly more picturesque than the buildings erected as port mills, where nearly all the grain (foreign) was ground.

The last slide, described as the best photograph the lecturer had ever taken, showed Meadows Mill, Eardiston, even the hoar frost on the trees and the little film of ice under the mill wheel being depicted.

A hearty vote of thanks was accorded the speaker on the proposition of the Chairman, seconded by Mr. L. J. Thompson.