Registered Charity No. 1106243
This was an interesting afternoon visit to the museum and the actual site of the villa (scheduled as a ancient monument) which was probably in existence from c. 200 AD to c. 400 AD. The Friends then visited a 15th century building (a former guildhall which was moved to the present Hill Farm site in the 16th century) and saw a collection of agricultural implements and machinery. The afternoon visit finished with tea and biscuits.
The day started with a visit to Beeleigh Abbey, the former home of the late Christina Foyle of Foyle's bookshop. The house is not nowadays open to the public but the group of 21 members and guests enjoyed wandering around the interesting, attractive and well-maintained garden. Most then enjoyed the excellent light refreshments served by volunteers in a large tent.
The visitors then walked a short distance to Beeleigh Mill, a Victorian steam-powered flour mill which is currently being restored by the Beeleigh Mill Restoration Group (BMRG) where they were welcomed by key volunteers. We were taken in small groups round the site and viewed the remains of the original water mill and the barge bays which made possible transport via the short tidal creek from the main river. In the steam-powered mill building, the visitors saw the original boiler, the engine and the hurstings, a mechanism that converts by means of gears the horizontal drive from the steam engine into vertical drive to power the circular grinding stones on the floor above. The guides gave explanations of how everything worked, the problems the BMRG have had to face and the considerable progress in the restoration project so far made.
Annual Dinner on 6th April 2019
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