Busy in Belford with book launch and talk

Waren Mill as a working mill.
Waren Mill as a working mill.
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A new book documenting the history of two mills is being launched by Belford Museum next week.

The museum was awarded a grant from the Peregrini Project in January, which enabled three volunteers to pursue their research into the origins of Waren and Spindlestone Mills at the National Archives in London.

They were able to go through the papers of Greenwich Hospital, which had been the mills’ landlords for nearly 150 years, from 1735 to 1872.

Four visits and well over 1,000 document images later, they had the material for their book, A Tale of Two Mills: Spindleston and Waren 1735–1914, which describes how this part of north Northumberland was the scene of a determined and partially successful attempt to industrialise the area 250 years ago.

The mill was constructed to the plans of the finest civil engineer of the day, John Smeaton, and was considered to be his masterpiece.

The book tells how three entrepreneurial families, the Watsons, the Nairns and the Shorts, contributed and how the coming of the railways affected the mills. There are also accounts of the triumphs and tragedies which affected those who lived and worked there.

The book is launched on Tuesday at Bell View Resource Centre, West Street, from 6pm to 8pm. It will be available from Belford Community Shop, Belford Museum and Berwick Archives.

Meanwhile, Belford Museum’s Heritage Lottery funded WW1–Belford: A Rural Area at War project continues on Sunday.

Artist and illustrator Olivia Lomenech Gill, who has a studio in Belford, is giving a talk about War Horse and work involved in illustrating books.

Olivia worked with Michael and Clare Morpurgo, illustrating their book Where My Wellies Take Me. This led to her being commissioned by Michael to create the artwork for his concert performance, War Horse: Only Remembered.

The talk is at 2.30pm in the Ferguson Hall, Nursery Lane, and is free.