by Mildred Cookson, The Mills Archive, UK

Travelling was always part of Rex's lifestyle, from taking three weeks crossing the Atlantic in 1929 to photographing mills in Finland, Spain, and many other countries. During his visit to Finland in the 1930s Rex took more than a thousand mill photographs, both external and internal. Together with Reading University we have financed an intern to digitise and catalogue 1266 of his Finnish glass plates, negatives and photographic prints. We now care for a unique record of the milling history of Finland, a country that, before the war, was largely an agrarian economy and is now one of the most prosperous in Europe.

The collection has been written up in detail on our website and has attracted considerable international attention; follow this link for more information:

Rex recorded many unusual or unique features of the windmills of the country and wrote extensively about them. Personally, I was delighted to discover evidence of the move from stone to rollers at the Vesikoski watermill on the bank of the River Loimijoki in Loimaa, a municipality in Western Finland.

I have selected three of these discoveries for this month's article: an image of a roller mill built by Turner's of Ipswich, a circular plansifter and a KML wheat peeler. Each underline an important message: we should not only make records of our milling history; we should also take active steps to preserve them for future generations.

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