tidemillOn a sunny but cold Friday in April, 14 of us from Quester 9 enjoyed a visit to the newly refurbished circa 1780 tide mill.

Miller Mat gave us a detailed tour and explanation of how the water wheel, gearing, millstones, sluices, tidal flaps, tidal conditions, grain store, chattering damsel, sack hoists, grain cleaner, flour grader, and all the associated controls and equipment are able to produce a kilogram of high quality flour each minute from one stone set. Grinding to a halt is definitely to be avoided!

Mat also reviewed mill history right back to the doomsday book. A team of 3 other millers were undertaking maintenance work during our tour, but before we left, the machinery was in full flour production. The mill itself is more or less unchanged in principle since major restoration in 1975 brought one of the two water wheels back into use. However, recent conversion of the adjacent former steam powered mill ‘shell’ into a Tide Mill Discovery Centre/café/function room/offices gave Quester 9 the opportunity to enjoy a very acceptable buffet lunch on the site.

Some of us then followed a new boardwalk upstream along the banks of tidal Bartley Water and back to the car park. From there, fine views of the Bartley Water ‘millpond’ are dominated by a container terminal and yachting marina just behind the tide mill. A perfect illustration of change in the industrial maritime landscape over the last 240 years.


Paul Bracey