With the Events season now over I can give more space to maintenance and restoration this month and I thank Chairman, Fred Maillardet, for the following update.

“We have been carrying out a lot of test milling over recent weeks in preparation for producing flour in bulk to sell on open days. These tests are necessary to both acquaint our volunteers with the optimum equipment settings and operating techniques needed, and also to test out the mill machinery under various load conditions. All the volunteers are becoming more accomplished in terms of setting and running the mill, but we have found that at relatively high speeds, there is a danger of the main drive gear teeth disengaging. This could cause serious damage to the teeth if allowed to persist. We have determined that the cause of this is the relative flexibility of the Sprattle Beam, the large beam running across the mill which carries the Quant, the vertical shaft driving the Runner (top) Mill Stone. This Sprattle Beam is the original one which was in situ when the mill was abandoned in 1912 and is visually in poor condition, so that it is no surprise that it is no longer fit for purpose. However, we have designed and installed a temporary brace to reinforce this beam, thus enabling milling to continue, but in the longer term a replacement beam will be required.  We are currently exploring the alternative types of timber available, including solid seasoned timber and a laminated/glued beam. A drawback of using a new beam is that it loses the ‘texture’ of the original timber so we are also considering whether it will be possible to retain some surface features of the original beam.” 

From this you will see that the volunteers have no intention of resting during the winter months.  Do pay them a visit on a Thursday and see for yourselves.

100 Club.  The lucky winners in October were: no. 8, Mrs G Coburn; no. 14, Mr & Mrs A J Annett; no. 54, Mr M Langridge and no. 112,  Mr D Kenward.

May I take this opportunity of wishing all Talk About readers, and especially Oldland Mill supporters, a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

George Rankin