The Sails Are On
The framework sails were fitted in September 2019. Hough Mill now looks like a windmill.
The sails are framework sails which means that they will not turn when the wind blows (although they might turn a little in high winds). To make the mill operable we would need to:
- Fit wooden shutters to two of the sails and canvas to the other two, so as to catch the wind.
- Repair the mill stones and dress them.
- Work on other pieces of machinery to ensure they can withstand the rigours of operation.
- Recruit volunteers to be trained in the technical operation of a windmill.
Photographs of the sails being fitted are on the restoration page.
Views of Hough Mill
There are now many iconic images of Hough Mill – photos of the mill, views across the pond in the adjacent Gorse Field and drone photos. We always appreciate photos sent to us.
Meal Floor – Start Of Process
The Meal Floor is the ground floor.
When entering the mill look for the sack scales that millers used to weigh the sacks of grain. You will also see the chain of the sack hoist used to haul sacks of grain to the Bin Floor.
Take care going up the stairs. It is a good idea to go to the top of the mill then follow the flow of the grain as it descends.
The Dust Floor is the fourth floor, it is in the mill cap and full of machinery. Only approved volunteers are allowed on the Dust Floor. There is a small viewing platform for visitors – take care not to bang your head and please descend backwards.
The sails (not present yet) would turn the windshaft (added 2009). As the 10 foot (3 metre) diameter brakewheel (made by volunteers in 2012) is fitted on the windshaft it would also turn. For the mill to operate, the wallower (the horizontal wheel or gear with wooden teeth, made by volunteers in 2014) has to be raised to mesh with the brakewheel. This then turns the upright shaft and powers the mill equipment.
The curb is the circle of cast iron teeth around the top of the brickwork. When the wind changes direction it turns the fantail sails. These turn a series of gears that drive the pinion that crawls along the curb to slowly turn the cap. This moves the sails into the wind.
The sack hoist (made by volunteers in 2017) is powered by the wallower. When the miller pulls the rope it raises the mechanism so that it is friction driven by the wallower.
The Bin Floor is the third floor and is the highest of the floors normally used by the millers.
The pulpit and grain bins were moved up a floor by volunteers in 2018 to more accurately reflect the milling process. The pulpit raises the trap doors to the same height as the top of the grain bins. The sack hoist pulls the sacks through the trap doors, then lowers them onto the closed doors. The chain is removed and the sack pushed across the slide so that the grain can be tipped into the bins.
The Museum Floor is the second floor.
When the mill was working this would have been the Storage Floor. Sacks of grain would have been hoisted to this floor, then stored until they needed to be taken up a floor to the Bin Floor.
This floor is being converted into a Museum Floor but it will take time to achieve this. There are models of a tower mill and a post mill on this floor. The grain chutes run through the floor taking the grain from the grain bins to the stones.
The Stone Floor is the first floor.
There are two sets of French burr stones on this floor.
One set of stones is enclosed in a wooden tun so that the flour does not billow out across the floor. The grain flows down the chute into the hopper, it then descends the shoe which is agitated by the black metal damsel to shake the grain into the centre of the stones.
The second set of stones is displayed differently. The bed stone is horizontal and visitors can see the grooves that channel the grain/flour to the edge of the stones. They can also see how the stone was brought from France in pieces then dressed, cemented and enclosed with an iron band. The running stone is propped against the wall.
Meal Floor – End Of Process
As you return to the Meal Floor have a look at the machinery in the ceiling. The great spur wheel is at the bottom of the upright shaft. There are two sets of stone nuts (smaller wheels/gears with wooden teeth) that provide the drive mechanism for the stones. The red governor and black tentering arms adjust the gap between the stones.
During 2018 volunteers moved the flour dresser down to the Meal Floor. Wholemeal flour would flow into the flour dresser which is a large sieve. The finest flour (for baking) would fall into the first compartment. The semi milled flour, called semolina, is used in puddings and pastas. The bran falls out the bottom and is used for animal feed.
During Your Visit
One of the best parts about a visit to Hough Mill is that you can touch nearly everything. Our industrial exhibits are very robust. Please leave the sack trolley rope and keep your fingers out of wheels and rollers!
Ask the Mill Guide about hands on opportunities to use scales, grind wheat into flour and use the sack trolley. Visit the railway room to learn about the Leicester and Swannington Railway. Stroll around the bell pits and gin pits of the Gorse Field plus the Califat Coal Mine.
We love seeing your photos so send them in to us.