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Anvower Mill, Lowertown, Helston, about 1930

PlaceLowertown, Helston Cornwall United Kingdom
Date1930. about
KeywordsTrades and Professions Miller Helston
PhotographerHawke, Alfred Herbert
Copyright© Estate of A H Hawke

The interior of Anvower Mill, Lowertown, Helston, circa 1930. Winding gear can be seen in the background and the millstone is in the foreground. The surface of a millstone is divided by deep grooves, called furrows, into separate flat areas called lands. Spreading away from the furrows are smaller grooves called feathering or cracking. The grooves provide a cutting edge and help to channel the ground flour out from the stones. The furrows and lands are arranged in repeating patterns called harps. A typical millstone will have six, eight or ten harps. The pattern of harps is repeated on the face of each stone, when they are laid face to face the patterns mesh in a kind of "scissoring" motion creating the cutting or grinding function of the stones. When in regular use, stones need to be dressed periodically, that is, re-cut to keep the cutting surfaces sharp. Millstones need to be evenly balanced, and achieving the correct separation of the stones is crucial to producing good quality flour. The experienced miller will be able to adjust their separation very accurately.