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In Northumberland, for much of the 19th century, water was the main source of power for corn-mills, though steam took over in many mills in the later Victorian period.

There were several types of water-wheels:-

Over-shot wheels were turned by the water from the mill-race being brought to a high level where it shot over the top blades, turning the wheel in the same direction as the flow of the stream.

Breast-shot wheels were powered by a head of water striking the wheel at a point from one-third to two-thirds the height of the wheel.

Under-shot wheels were turned by water striking the lower blades causing the wheel to turn in the opposite direction to the current in the mill-race.

Heatherslaw Mill on the Ford and Etal Estate is a fully-working, restored corn-mill of the Victorian period. Visitors can see the under-shot wheel and mill-machinery in action, processing cereals, grains and flours for use and sale in local bakeries and shops.

Find out more about Heatherslaw Cornmill

Extracts from contemporary newspapers relating to milling and malting in Victorian times

Barley and Wheat