Tales from the mill: The mill whistle
The mill whistle has been part of Bathford Mill history for as long as anyone can remember.
The steam driven whistle sounds four times a day, historically signalling the start of the day at 7.30am,
the start and finish of lunch at 1pm and 2pm, and the end of the day at 5.00pm. The whistle can be heard throughout Bathford village
and is very much a reminder of the link between the mill and the village.
Many villagers over the years have said that the whistle had very much been part of their childhood and brought back memories of their mothers or fathers who worked at the mill and the lunchtime and evening whistle was a signal they were heading home from the mill!
The whistle has also been used to indicate important times and dates in history such as Remembrance Sunday, and the passing of Monarchs – most recently for her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The whistle was also blown as a gesture for a colleague who had passed away and who had previously worked at the mill
and lived in a mill house – it was agreed the whistle would be blown as the hearse left the house to see him on his final journey – a gesture very much appreciated by the family.
Around 10 years ago, the Portals whistle was stopped for about two weeks, following a complaint from a new arrival to the village. It was a decision that was not taken lightly by the mill leadership team at the time, but one that was taken in the interest of ensuring minimal impact from the mill on the village. The stopping of the whistle was not, however, well received by the rest of the village, and within a short time several complaints had been received asking why the whistle had ceased. Soon afterwards, the whistle was re-instated, and it is still blown now, 4 times a day, every day!