Thursday, July 09, 2009

To 1625 and back - 5 July 2009

MGs in the sunAfter a fun MG treasure hunt and excellent pub lunch at Abinger Hatch, we did a little exploring in the area.

Hatchlands is a stunning house, made even more interesting by the world's largest collection of historical keyboard instruments, many associated with famous composers such as Chopin, Bach and Elgar.

South of here is the Tilling Bourne river valley system. We did a most interest tour of the Shalford Mill. The complexity of the pulleys, gears and wheels rotating from the central 30 ft solid 'tree-trunk' shaft is fascinating. Obviously a subject of great interest to the volunteer guides. They were just as passionate and fascinated by their subject as our Milton expert yesterday.

Shalford MillThis mill is here today thanks to the fund raising efforts of the Fergusson Gang, a band of eccentric, rich yet secretive band of women who rescued the mill in the 1930s and subsequently gave it to the National Trust. This band gave three properties in all and their identities remain a secret to this day.

Gunpowder crushersA mile or so upstream, are the abandoned gun-powder mills that were in use from 1625 to 1930. The area is tranquil enough now with streams, ponds and remnants of buildings, machinery and mills.

Traffic jams on the motorway home jolted us, unpleasantly, back into 2009.

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