(Noted at Tean Hall Mills
). According to authorities as highly-regarded in the field of ancient textile mills as Barrie Trinder
, the late Michael Stratton
and the now-defunct Royal Commission for Historical Monuments of England
, the hatch to the right of the door in this photograph is to facilitate breast-feeding of babies (outside the mill) by working mothers (in the mill).
According to the 1992 report, the hole cut in the hatch enables the mother to present the breast to the baby. How each baby could be sure it got the right milk (and vice versa) it is not clear; why it was not possible to provide a room for this activity, who knows? We suspect the interpretation is perhaps not quite right? It seems more likely that this is in fact a hatch for paying workers. However we remain open-minded and invite comment. The project is ongoing...