The Pit Floor
Welcome to the Tide Mill. Here our friendly warden will be on hand to help you make the most of your visit.
This easy access ground floor presents an overview of the history and workings of the Tide Mill. Where a short introductory film, history panel, unique interactive power model and a manual quern (a hand operated mill for grinding grain) will help you get a feel for how the mill works. See how the power derived from tides is transferred to the main shaft and on to the milling stones using the pit wheel, wallower, great spur wheel and the stone nuts. On milling days watch the Miller control the machinery and produce flour.
Take the innovative board walk for close up views of the 5m wide English oak waterwheel and learn about the birds of the River Deben.
The Stone Floor
This floor is the heart of the milling process. Learn about all the parts of the machinery and its workings, and why a chattering Damsel is a vital part of the process.
Working sets of millstones are complemented by spare sets and a cutaway model to explain the milling action, stone dressing and the various materials used. Information displays and interactive models provide further essential details and understanding. The superb computer-generated video explains how grain and flour move within the mill using the sack hoist and gravity.
A spectacular timeline portrays the rich history of the Tide Mill and its people, brought to life by their stories from the audio station.
The Crown Floor
See the crown wheel with its wooden teeth and how it transfers power to the sack hoist and flour dresser. Learn about the place of the Tide Mill in the ‘Grain to Bread’ story.
Here, near the top of the mill, the wonderful views over the River Deben are not to be missed whatever the state of the tide. The agricultural cycle, the route of grain to flour and how bread is made completes our story and the Tide Mill’s part in it. Learn how wholemeal flour was dressed to give finer flour.
Why not play the ‘Grain Detective Game’ or listen to the audio station stories while the children dress up as the miller and his family?
You can also see the miller’s log which reveals the details of daily work and income.
Tide Mill Machinery
The design of Tide Mill machinery has evolved through many centuries and has an elegant simplicity but it is powerful and effective in the hands of a skilled miller.
Wood and iron are the core materials used for the machinery in the Tide Mill with wood being the dominant material used. Three pieces of machinery are cast out of iron but with wooden teeth. Two pieces of machinery are cast out of iron in their entirety, the wallower and the great spur wheel. Wooden teeth engaging with the metal cogs allows not only for a smooth operation but also for easy replacement due to wear and tear rather than replace an entire iron casting.