Burton Mill’s machinery has been replaced over the years as its commercial use changed. Possibly the only remaining workings from the 1780s is this sack hoist pulley and shaft above the grain bins in the attic. It probably only survived because it was too heavy and difficult to remove as other sack hoists and grain elevators were installed.
The mill is now powered by this water turbine which replaced the western water wheel in 1929. This was installed to power a large circular saw.
It is an inward-flow, reaction (Francis) turbine made by Gilkes of Kendal, capable of producing 27hp (20kW) with a flow of 400l/s and head of 5.5m. Water from Burton Mill Pond enters via the large pipe above.
As well as the millstones, this turbine powers the flour dresser, a roller mill and an alternator which powers and heats the mill.
These 3’6″ millstones were installed at Burton Mill in 1979. They came from a derelict mill near Cardiff and would probably date from the early or mid 1800s. The stone is French Burr which is thought to be best for flour milling. Grain is fed into the centre or eye of the runner stone and emerges as wholemeal flour from the around the edge before dropping into a chute below.
A flour dresser removes most of the bran from wholemeal flour to produce white flour. This ‘centrifugal’ machine was made by JJ Armfield of Ringwood and possibly dates from the 1920s. Originally it would have had two screens or sieves of different grades to produce both white flour and ‘middlings’. It is currently fitted with one 60-grade screen to produce our very popular white bread flour.
This Hopkinson’s Roller Mill came from Brewhurst Mill, Loxwood and dates from the 1880s. It is fully working and is used to demonstrate oat crushing for animal feed. Grain is fed in to the hopper at the top and passes between two 250kg steel rollers, each running at a slightly different speed.
Before grain can be milled it must be cleaned to remove chaff and debris. This Robert Boby grain cleaner was installed at Burton Mill in 1979 and used for about seven years. The age and origin of this machine is unknown.
At the side of the mill in an underground chamber is this Blake’s Hydram. This water pump is powered by the pond water and was used to pump spring water to cottages further up Burton Park Road. It was installed sometime before 1925. A second ram pump, manufactured by Green & Carter in Winchester, was installed in an adjacent chamber in 1925.
After flour production had ceased in the late 1890s this early Francis-type turbine was installed in place of the eastern waterwheel to drive a dynamo to provide power to Burton Park House. After mains electricity arrived in the 1920s it was abandoned and subsequently buried when part of the eastern tail race was filled in. It was ‘discovered’ again during work to strengthen the embankment.
For power generation the 1890s turbine (above) had to rotate at a constant speed for the dynamo to produce a stable voltage. The pulley of this 1879 governor manufactured by W. F. Fruen of Minneapolis was connected to the turbine output and turned the bob-weights. If the electrical load increased causing the turbine to slow then the weights would drop and engage the gear wheel. This opened the turbine’s vanes to allow more water through. If the turbine span too fast the gear wheel would rotate in the opposite direction to reduce the water flow and lower the power. This machine shows signs of being modified a number of times but is unlikely to have ever worked very well.