Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Town Mill, Lyme Regis, Dorset

The original watermill dates from 1340 and, along with the surrounding derelict buildings, was restored by the townspeople. The complex houses various small businesses and is now a tourist attraction.  However, the mill itself is a working one which produces flour, and as such does not have that 'tarted up' look of a heritage endeavour. The interior is quite rough and ready, with undressed stone walls, exposed wooden ceiling trusses and cobwebs hanging from beams and in the windows. Just my kind of place!

The mill consists of three floors; the Meal Floor at ground level, the Stone Floor next up and the Sack Floor on the top. The Meal Floor houses the waterwheel as well as the machinery and gearing to power the millstones. In the photo above can be seen the Pitwheel, painted red, which is used to turn the power from the waterwheel to the vertical shaft, thereby transferring the power to the rest of the mill machinery.

The Stone Floor, on the second floor, houses the mill stones for grinding the grain to make the flour, along with the hoppers which deliver the grain to be ground. The photo below shows the runner which turns at up to 100 revolutions per minute.

Below that can be seen the waterwheel, which was made in 1878 and was procurred to replace the original one, which was removed in the 1930s when mill production became uneconomical. 

The top floor is the Sack Floor, where the grain is stored and the sacks can be hoisted between the floors.

It is on this floor that a wonderful scale model of the mill can be seen.

The water power comes from the River Lym, part of which is directed into a separate mill race.

As well as using water to power the mill, a micro hydro-electric system has also been installed. This not only facilitates efficient usage for all the electricity used in the mill, but also generates enough power for some to be sold to the National Grid.

More photos along with these can also be seen in the Photo Gallery album.

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