Stories from the Mill (2014)

The People’s Heritage Co-operative, following a £450,000 restoration and refurbishment of Sarehole Mill, recorded the memories and experiences of visitors to the site.

Set on the edge of Moseley Bog with a large mill pond that attracts a range of wildlife, it is easy to see how former Mill resident J.R.R. Tolkien took inspiration from this landscape and to see why many visitors to the mill feel as if they are taking a trip back in time when they enter the mill buildings. It is an evocative place which has stood as a landmark building for over 200 years in some form and in its present form with the tall chimney, for over 100 years.

At this point, a team of volunteer millers were beginning to mill regularly with a view to selling flour later in the season.

Working as a volunteer miller, it is the stories of the visitors that bring to life the history of the mill over the last fifty years. As you stand and chat to them about their memories of the mill and its surrounding area, with the backdrop of the sound of the water wheel and the vibrations of the mill stones which shake the whole building, you get a sense of the importance of the place and the connection people have to it.

Nikki Thorpe – PHC members and Volunteer Miller

The stories of visitors, millers and staff have formed a permanent record of the place of the mill in the memories and history of the local community.

It’s been a very enjoyable experience hearing people reminisce about the place, their tales of playing there as children, coming on a school trip and one lady actually remembering the miller leaning over the gate at the front of the mill.

Almost everyone talks about the beautiful green space as a haven in a city, something they remember feeling when they first visited and perhaps feel even more now. Here’s a clip from Bridget recalling the story of her first visit as a babe in arms:

Here is a short clip of Natalie, and Elijah, talking about childhood memories of Moseley Bog:

Irene’s favourite place at Sarehole Mill is by the Mill Pond watching the heron and kingfisher.