Stotfold’s next top model on show
A MINUTELY-detailed scale model of Stotfold Watermill, all in working order, has been carefully crafted by the miller over a two-year period.
The four foot high model by Ray Kilby is exact down to the weathervane on the roof and the representation of the miller dressed in his characteristic waistcoat and bowler hat.
Mr Kilby’s involvement with Stotfold Watermill, on Mill Lane, began through Ron Roper, one of the prime movers for the restoration of the watermill, which was destroyed by fire in 1992.
In making the scale model, it took a long time to find something suitable for making the tiny, complex gears, ending up with three from wheel brace hand drills, while the biggest gear came from a child’s toy.
Recreating the hoist that lifts sacks through the three floors of the watermill was also a problem. “Little belts don’t work like big belts,” explained Mr Kilby.
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“Small belts tend to be circular and the sack hoist belts need to be pear-shaped so they do not interfere with the work of the pulleys which run them.”
Eventually, a chain from a Lego toy solved the problem.
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The model does have a few differences from the actual watermill - Spaces between the floors have been enlarged to ensure visitors can appreciate all the working parts, for instance.
Mr Kilby is often on duty at Stotfold Watermill, overseeing the milling process and easily recognised by his trademark red neckerchief, waistcoat, bowler hat and pipe.
He said: “Perhaps most interesting for me are the elderly people who remember seeing this mill or others in operation and are intrigued that the technology is still working today.
“Visiting the mill stimulates memories of their childhood, while I find kids today don’t really understand the relationship between the past and the future.”
Visitors can watch Mr Kilby and his team running the millstones each Sunday afternoon - water levels permitting - until the end of September, and then on alternate Sundays until the end of November.
On September 18 there will be a photographic exhibition at the watermill, and the Working Steam Weekend on October 8 and 9 will give visitors a chance to see historic steam-driven agricultural machines and country craftsmen at work.
For more information about these and other events at Stotfold Watermill, visit www.stotfoldmill.com