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History Mills, Weirs Industrial Power

Yafford Watermill

REF NR: 227

1.  Yafford Mill was established around the middle of the 18th century. It was a grist mill, grinding corn into animal feed for local farmers. It is thought to have started producing flour during the First World War, when water power was briefly supplemented by an oil engine. There is no record of how long flour production lasted and it may have reverted to animal feed after the war. It had certainly been grinding meal for many years prior to ceasing production around 1970. It eventually became the centre of a tourist attraction, occasionally turning as a museum feature.

Thereafter it became an example of how quickly a mill can deteriorate once it stops operating, having run continuously for over 200 years. In recent times the external units had reached the point where they were beyond basic repair. The owner contracted an experienced mill engineer, Malcolm Cooper, to carry out a fundamental rebuild and repair project, as necessary to bring the mill back into flour production. A new overshot water wheel had to be built (above), with the design as near as possible to the original. The launder, which feeds water onto the wheel, had also rotted and was renewed. The internal mechanics were in reasonable condition but required a general overhaul. A major bearing was re-engineered and the pit wheel had to be reset.

There are still a few minor repairs needed to finalise the project but the stones have been redressed and the mill has already produced a trial quantity of flour, from which a loaf was baked - perhaps the first loaf out of Yafford Mill for nearly a century.

 

1. Sources: http://freespace.virgin.net/roger.hewitt/iwias/home.htm

2. Some lovely old postcard shots of the mill and surrounding countryside are available from the source link below.

2. Sources: http://www.back-of-the-wight.shalfleet.net/brighstone_shorwell.htm

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