Sunday, June 18, 2017

Water Mills

Over the years I must have passed hundreds, and hundreds of buildings like this and never thought about their origins. Just buildings with few, if any clues as to their original purpose.  Then I bought " Eight Centuries of Milling in North East Yorkshire by John K. Harrison. There are over 150 recorded water mills in North East Yorkshire, and some were working until the 1970,s.  Many have been demolished or turned into homes.  But there are mills which still have all their machinery and are kept hidden and closed to the public.  There is only one working mill open to the public in North East Yorkshire -  Tockett's mill near Guisborough.

 Unlike the windmills in North Yorkshire which are in exposed places and pretty obvious what they are, or were, water mills can be extremely well hidden, small and with no obvious signs of their purpose when viewed from outside.  A few miles west of Northallerton this is Crayke Mill, and it still works and is sometimes open to the public.  ( There are no working windmills in North Yorkshire.  But there are just over ten  watermills which still have all their original equipment.  

Inside, the machinery still turns, mill stones serve their real purpose and not used to fix village signs or farm house names.  Alas for many they have no future.  Too small to operate commercially, or their source of power - water - has been diverted or they are too small to be kept open as a tourist attraction.

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