Away in the camper north of my home city of Ely and camping jus outside Leek on the Staffordshire, Derbyshire border. Out on a wonderful circular walk taking in woodland,farmland,rivers,railways and canals should be a great opportunity to get bsy with the Fuji X-E1 and my fav 35mm Fujinon lens. But I goofed it half way round the 5 mile walk.
Well I made the mistake I have made numerous times before and every time I kick myself for being such a moron. The Fuji X series cameras are certainly not renowned for long battery life. So why is it I seem to think to my self “oh it’s only a short walk one battery will be fine” Doh! homer moment, I nearly always find I am taking more shots than I thought I would and taking my time getting the shot I want. This mean more battery life dummy. Arrrh kick me hard. Half way round we came across a massively interesting “Flint” Mill on the canal. It’s now a museum cared for be two amazingly dedicated and extremely well informed gentlemen who have taken it upon themselves to ensure the history is maintained and passed on to others. So guess what yep my battery gave in before I could take my fill of 17th living and working in a flint Mill. Yes you are reading this correctly Milling (grinding to a powder) Flint stone.
This is the crane that was used to load the canal boats with flint cake blocks to take to the world famous Staffordshire potteries. The flint was dug from the hills near the mill and transported by narrow track trains to the mill. The flint was then heated in kilns which forced it to crack into smaller pieces that could be ground by the grind wheels. Early milling was done dry (causing many workers to die from silicosis) back then we did not know why. Later the mill used a water based grinding system that reduced the dust and thus allowed the lives of the mill owners to be extended considerably. So much so the mill owners daughter is still alive and week living in the mill with her husband at the ripe old age of 91years. The mill cottage is now a museum and open to tour and welcomed photography but dummy here did not bring his spare battery therefore only managed to get a few shots, this one is of a test dynamo to run the lighting in the mill to make sure it could run through the night. The mill was still being used for fine flint up until 1963. The whole place was a gem for photography and I ran out of battery. Maddening. Oh well lesson learned again. One day I will get it right every time.
Until today I was un aware flint was ground in vast quantities in and around Staffordshire in the 17th 18th and 19th century trying to compete with the very fine pottery being brought over from China its fascinating and I missed a chance to record some of its history. Shame on me. This is my fave … Read the details.
More on milling in England. here