News of recent mill work and events
FIRST OPEN DAY OF THE 2022 SEASON
March 27th saw the first open day of 2022 after two years of forced closure. Fortunately, the sun was shining to brighten the colours of the spring flowers in the grounds, although it wasn't quite as warm as the previous few days. Several visitors had taken the opportunity to arrive early to have a cup of tea or coffee in the tea room before having a tour around the mill. We had over 60 visitors that day from as far and wide as Stafford, Southwest Ireland , Wrexham and, believe it or not, Dubai!
The mill pond looked peaceful - the storm-damaged tree top long-forgotten. The ducks had not remembered that visitors could feed them with duck-food from the counter. Wary to begin with, they were coaxed onto the causeway with a liberal dusting of grain; then they realised what it was all about!
The mill machinery, well-tended and maintained over the lockdowns and closed periods, soon began to make the familiar sounds of grain being ground into flour. Visitors were treated to the sights and noises of the cog-wheels turning and the water splashing around the waterwheel.
If you hadn't been able to join us on this first opening day, do come soon - you'll be more than welcome.
STORM-BLOWN TREE RESCUE
Last year, Storm Arwen 'topped' a tree into the pond. On March 12th, the pond was already drained ready for the contractors to do a job they'd not expected to be as muddy as this! With pallets laid to make a more steady surface to work from, the chain saw was deftly wielded to reduce the fallen tree baulk to more manageable pieces, of which the majority were consigned to the shredder. Some lengths remained embedded in the silt, but the pond needed to be re-filled in readiness for an event a couple of days later. Interestingly, the last photo shows the natural flow of the Gowy's under-current through the pond.
Click on a picture to enlarge it in a pop-up window.
The Bunbury Mill Archive - Part 1
Over the lockdown and 'usual' closed season periods, Peter Robinson and Eric Elson set to and spent many hours developing an archive system for all the documents and images amassed over the years. It would allow the whole collection to be viewed in one place at any time.
Hundreds of paper document pages were scanned or transcribed to electronic format; much of the Northwest Water Authority & United Utilities paperwork was provided by Dennis Buchanan who, as the last warden for United Utilities before the mill was closed in 2010, had collected as much documentation and imagery as he could to form a permanent record of all the hard work which had taken place during his time in office and previously. The resulting electronic files are now stored on a dedicated computer donated to the Trust for that purpose.
The archive is in chronological order in the 'Windows' File Explorer format. This means that it is 'portable' and can be backed up to another storage facility for security. There are over 1000 multi-page documents and nearly 3,500 images (mostly 'snapped' by Peter while he was round and about at the mill together, with video sequences of varied subjects).
However, the 'Explorer' format is not an easy tool to use if you know the content you are looking for but not where it is! To solve this problem a computer application (app) was developed to create a database from the Explorer folder format and then use the app to enter key words or phrases to search the database. A list of the files which meet the chosen criteria is displayed for the user to view and select the files which might be of interest to view on screen. The resulting documents may be printed or emailed to the person requesting the search.
See part 2 soon.