The Mills Archive holds a wealth of images and documents of milling heritage. Hundreds of thousands of people were employed in mills or in the manufacturing industries that were powered by wind or water. The Archive Collections and Library provide a rich source of information on mill owners, millers and millwrights, and their families.

What will you find at the Mills Archive for milling families and social history?

We have catalogued documents and images on 10,000 individual mills which can be accessed via the Mills Database.  Please ask if the mill does not appear as we are adding mills all the time.  Material on individual mills may also be found in our general county material.

We have several large collections of material on milling families and dozens more individual family histories in our smaller collections. These can be searched by name on the Archive catalogue.  In our Library there are several hundred books containing information on people and detailed family histories.

These images are a snapshot of the type of original material that we hold at the Mills Archive that can enhance your research in milling history: Day books; accounts and wages books; deeds and indentures; correspondence and billheads; large drawings and plans; map; press cuttings; photographs; archaeological surveys; sales particulars and auction records.

In our library you will find a lot of information in books and journals about the history of milling in the context of the history of technology and historical events at home and abroad.  Technical information can help you to understand the developments in the milling process for flour mills and industrial mills. There are also books of individual mills, milling family histories, the life of the miller and recollections on milling life.  Many general books on mills in different counties also mention the names of millers and millwrights.

The Mill People Database contains thousands of names that have been extracted from a wide variety of sources and milling family histories.  The Features and Articles on our website are interesting to read and do explore the Online Resources with many links to milling websites around the world.  There are also useful glossaries of milling terms.


Visit our Reading Room

We encourage researchers to make an appointment to visit the Mills Archive for all aspects of milling research.  Our Archivist, Librarian, Family Historian and Mill Expert can provide you with help and advice.


Where else will you find information on mills and milling?

The Mills Archive was set up in 2002, so before that material and records relating to mills and millers were often deposited in county archives, local history libraries, and museums.  In addition public records often contain the names of mills and mill people.  We have put together a list of other sources that can be searched elsewhere.


Genealogical research

Unless we have been sent information about your particular family by someone else or they have been written about in a book, it is unlikely that we can provide you with a detailed family history.  However, our family history researcher can give you advice on where to look and how you can break through brick walls.


Send us your family history

Please send us copies of your milling family history and images of your milling forbears to add to our Archive collections.  Perhaps you might consider talking to our Archivist about donating original milling documents and images that are in your possession, so that they are preserved for posterity.