We were delighted to host a joint symposium with the SPAB Mills Section, and it was lovely to see some of familiar faces. The symposium was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of our 2-year project, “From Quern to Computer”. This project tells the story of flour milling, from its ancient origins and up to the present day. The symposium aimed to echo this story and was supported by several brilliant speakers who are experts in their fields.
The speakers jointly covered the evolution of milling, starting with early examples of quern stones and millstones and later traditional wind- and watermills. This was followed by an introduction to roller milling and then the current food security issues facing the world today. Finally, we ended with a presentation on the Mills Archive’s new roller flour mill archive and library.
The day was unseasonably mild, which meant that in addition to browsing the bookshop and visiting the exhibition, people could sit in the walled garden with their lunch.
We are very grateful to the speakers for their contributions:
- Martin Watts – highly regarded millwright and author of many books, he and his wife Sue (below) have been principal contributors to the Quern to Computer project;
- Ruth Shaffrey – since her PhD from Reading University on Roman rotary querns in the south of England, Ruth has published several papers on querns and millstones. Now based at Oxford Archaeology, she is a worked stone specialist, working for both the commercial and academic sectors;
- Sue Watts – Sue has published a number of papers on querns as well as a book with the intriguing title “The Life and Death of Querns”. With Martin, she has been a principal contributor to the history of flour milling now available on our webpages as part of the project: https://millsarchive.org/explore/features-and-articles/entry/171161/from-quern-to-computer-the-history-of-flour-milling
- Grant Campbell – Grant was an early supporters of the From Quern to Computer project, writing an important letter to support our application. He is Professor of Chemical Engineering at Huddersfield University, having previously helped to set up the Satake Centre for Grain Process Engineering at UMIST. On leaving Manchester, he was instrumental in Satake donating several thousand copies of “The Northwestern Miller” to our library: https://millsarchive.org/news/entry/158661/the-northwestern-miller#.WeS4PTtryUk
- Roger Gilbert – is the publisher of “Milling & Grain”, the successor to “Milling”, first published 125 years ago. His journal has been an Archive Patron for a number of years and we are very grateful for that support. His passion is the importance of milling in feeding the world and he has recently set up a new charity “Milling4Life” to help in that aim;
- Mildred Cookson – a Mills Archive trustee and of the SPAB, Mildred is one of the driving forces behind the Quern to Computer project and has been guiding the Archive as it moves to cover roller flour milling as well as traditional mills.