Mill Wheels Grinding: The Orphans

{aka Yenta searching for mills- like any good Jewish Donna Quixote would do} 

As any writer/researcher or mill-chaser will allow, there are times when one is stumped. You sit with a collection of faded sepia photographs, of mills, and try as you may, they simply have no story, or were ignored in the course of history, and their records are lost.

All you get when you search from rumours, “I’m sure there was a mill here long ago” – not much help hey?    

Main picture: Mill of Julian Francis Langholm

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Mill Wheels Grinding – The Crumpled Mill, Mansfield

{aka Yenta searching for mills- like any good Jewish Donna Quixote would do}

[Of the 384 mills built in the Eastern Cape, a collective of grist, big wooden wheel- wind, paddles, and horse mills,  wooden wheel on top of the mill, only 90 have been identified to date. Of the 1000 mills built in South Africa, all genres, approximately only a further 20 have been recognized.]

This settler mill, has a very sad tale of great expectations, mayhap no business plan in place, and ended up as a crumbling, neglected, ruin of a mill. {Circa 1840}, Mansfield, the land, itself, is a vast old ‘settler, landmarked farm’, holding copious amounts of fresh water from the strong stream, to the left of the photograph; {the water provided is so endless, that it supplies the village of Port Alfred with fresh water} circa 2018.  Perfect for this large ‘grist-mill’  {the one with the large wooden wheel} .

Main picture: Mansfield Mill in 1987

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Mill Wheels Grinding: Lost in Clumber

Mill Wheels Grinding.  {aka Yenta searching for mills- like any good Jewish Donna Quixote would do} even if she has to scrabble amid the goggas. 

I came upon, {bit Alice in Wonderland hey?} this rather sad mill in 1998. Travelling though the backwoods of Trappes Valley, and ‘Englishy’ railway station some 25 kilometres from Port Alfred, heading west. What attracted me, was a scorched looking tower sticking out above the trees. It had apparently burned down in 1970. 

Main picture: Trappes Valley – mill before fire   Continue reading

Mill Wheels Grinding: Pyott’s Mill

Mill Wheels Grinding- aka {Yenta searching for mills- like any good Jewish Donna Quixote would do} even if its chasing biscuits.

PORT ELIZABETH EC Biscuits- circa 1862- am copying this here, as I found it whilst looking for mills, and I had saved the mill pics months ago. Not quite the mills I was looking for, however, as fascinating, as there was similar factory, in East London EC.

“Remember PYOTT’S BISCUITS – makers of Salticrax, Romany Creams, Iced Zoo and many other SA favourites? Today they’re all branded under the Bakers label and the Pyott name is all but lost forever. 

Main picture: Original Pyott’s factory in Port Elizabeth

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Mill Wheels Grinding Part 2: Cock’s Mill

Mill Wheels Grinding.  {aka Yenta searching for mills- like any good Jewish Donna Quixote would do}

Cock’s Mill. Circa 1850, a grist mill-big wheel on the side ne? Built as a cotton mill, originally, the need for flour over shadowed this fanciful notion. {William Cock, an English entrepreneur of stature, hurriedly altered the building, to suit, and he was open for business in no time}

Main picture: Cock’s Mill 38 – West Bank (Truscott)

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Mill Wheels Grinding

 {aka Yenta searching for mills} like any good Jewish Donna Quixote would do.

What began as a mild interest, seeing that I live near historical mills, has become an abiding passion. One of amazement and learning, to a degree that has me searching via the internet, physically looking for old mills, and listening to many, many stories, from farmers or ‘mill families’.

Main picture: Horse Mill

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