National Mills Weekend
DMAG: WWI CODENAME JOINED UP
The Brewers, Makers and Bakers Fair took place on 9 and 10 May 2015, instigated by Cathy Rogers as part of her work with White Mill Rural Heritage Centre.
“I wanted to take advantage of National Mills Weekend (9/10 May) to celebrate the historic function of the Mill, it’s place in the local community as provider of grain and ultimately food and the daily domestic duties of baking, mending, sewing and making.” (Cathy Rogers)
The fair included; bakers, brewers, a cidery, ceramics, stitching, weaving, wood turning, blacksmithing, spinning and knitting and a key aspect of the fair was the opportunity for visitors to take part in an activity: baking competition, singing and contributing to a commemorative sock blanket, in honour of those who died in WW1.
The event was a resounding success, pulling in some 250 visitors over the 2 days. This success was due in no small measure to the friendliness of all the volunteers at White Mill and their enthusiasm and hard work.
“One of the things that impressed me about the weekend was that generally when people visit an event at a museum they might check out the stalls/exhibitors and take the opportunity to look around the museum in general, but once they have ticked those boxes they would call it a day and wander off. But I found people were just wandering around pretty much aimlessly, chatting in groups, or sitting in the sun, and didn’t seem to have homes to go to!! They just seemed to enjoy hanging out at the Mill!! I wasn’t aware that we had created an atmosphere for people to chill within. My guess is that the Mill site itself, being orginally a home/business, felt friendly and homely to just relax within. Having lots of enthusiastic and interesting people taking part meant that our visitors felt they were part of something, and wanted to hang around and share that.” (Neil Aplin)
Photos by Clare Smith and Cathy Rogers