The sight of the watermill is evocative of rural Britain – the wheel turning gently to grind corn. However, that is only part of the story of the harnessing of the power of water, a story that extends back 2000 years and is still far from over, as this invaluable book shows.
- Examines the first water mills in Britain, which were introduced by the Romans, the medieval mill and the technology of water power, including the size and efficiency of water wheels, dams, weirs and watercourses.
- Covers flour milling before the Industrial Revolution and the early industrial uses of water power.
- Analyses the use of water power during the Industrial Revolution with reference to the cotton, woollen and linen industries and transport.
- Considers the technological developments associated with water power, flour milling in the industrial economy, water power on the farm and the impact of water power on the landscapes of rivers and streams.
- Discusses the emergence of steam power, the resultant decline in water power, the development of hydro-electricity and tidal power, and the potential water power has to help provide a green future
Jonathan Brown studied history at Manchester University and then went on to complete a PhD on late nineteenth-century farming in Lincolnshire. He has written numerous books and articles on various aspects of British agricultural history and worked for many years at the University of Reading's Museum of English Rural Life. Jonathan is the author of the highly acclaimed Steam on the Farm: A History of Agricultural Steam Engines 1800-1950 (Crowood 2008).
"This is a well-produced book with, something of a rarity these days, a hardback cover. It also uses a good quality silk finish paper that is excellent for the reproduction of photographs and drawings. Although this is an introduction to the subject of water power, its value lies in not just being able to tell that story but to have the space to give the details of many actual examples of interesting water-powered installations which, hopefully, will enthuse the reader to want to find out more. Although the hardback cover makes the price quite high this book deserves a place on any mill enthusiast's bookshelf. "
– Midland Wind & Water Mills Group Newsletter
" I found the book to be extremely informative, well put together in an easy to follow chronological order, and very well illustrated with over 160 photographs and original drawings. A book that will appeal to all levels of interest. "
– Wessex Mills Group