Paul Jaques

This page shows some of  Pauls original work from which using his Autocad drawings I have been able to produce my own set of images using a different rendering package - NXT render  Click The image below TO VISIT HIS ORIGINAL SITE


Here are two of Pauls drawings overlaid onto photographs of the site as it was at the time of his survey

Elsie’s River Mill

Introduction & Historical Overview

- The mill is situated in the Glencairn valley at the navy sports grounds near the river drift.

- It was previously part of Welcome Cottage Farm. The farm house is now a national monument.

- The first traceable occupier was Christoffel Brand who was ’owner of the loan place ‘ The Elsje’s River’ from the 1790’s.

- The Welcome Cottage farmhouse and outbuildings were erected between 1812 and 1816, probably by Johannes Henricus Brand, son of Christoffel.

- The first title deed was granted to J. H. Brand in 1822.

- The water mill was probably built around 1820 by J. H. Brand.

- Welcome farm was transferred to Thomas Brownrigg Wools, a merchant, in 1828. The mill was

in operation until at least 1842, when Welcome Farm was auctioned, including a Mill and bakery.

- Frances Bateman Pinney bought the farm in 1842. During this time corn farming seems to have given way to dairy and vegetable farming in the Southern Peninsula area.

- The farm was bought by David Cornelius de Villiers in the 1860’s, by which time the mill had probably fallen into disrepair.


Sketches done by Utt Seemann 1998


I have used Dr. John Cliffords' study of the mill included in ‘Glencaim Gleanings’, published by the Simon’s Town Historical Society 2003, Ute Seeman’s report prepared for the Simon’s Town Historical Society in 1998, James Waltons book ‘Watermills windmills and horsemills of South Africa (1974), my own observations and measurements and various other snippets found in the Simon’s Town Museum files to draw a resolved set of plans of how the Glencaim mill could have been. Where information is completely lacking, I used my own experience as an Architect to design it.

For further accuracy of the model it would be necessary to clear the vegetation and excavate collapsed material to establish levels, find old remains or arti-facts and materials used. This work should obviously be professionally done.


Technical Information

The model has been constructed using the following specifications...

- The roof is oriented on an east - west axis, with roof trusses spanning the shorter span. The roof has semi - gabled ‘wolweneus’ ends and is finished in thatch. There is a double truss over the mill stones to facilitate the lifting of the stones for servicing.

- Doors in either end of the building and a high - level window above the front door provide light and ventilation, taking advantage of prevailing wind directions. There is a window next to the water wheel to allow control of water flow and to provide light to the working area near the controls.

- The water wheel is a clasp - arm type with 4.2 m outside diameter. I have assumed that the grooves still visible in the plaster were caused by bolt -ends. It would have probably had more supports than shown to provide structural rigidity. The shrouds (sides) are 230mm deep with 32 floats (buckets) 250mm deep. (It can carry 100 litres when stationary, maybe 80 litres spinning.)

- The Pit wheel diameter is 1.2 metres. It has 53 teeth to put it out of synchronisation with the 8 - rung ‘lantern’, which would ensure even wear.

- The mill stones have a diameter of 900mm and start out 200mm thick. The lantern depth will allow them to wear down to 75mm before replacement. (The stones may have been smaller.)

- Water wheels typically rotated between 5 and 10 revolutions per minute. This would give the stones a rotation of between 33 and 66 RPM, or about once per second at full speed.


- The above specifications are based on a detailed study by Dr. John Clifford in his booklet titled ‘Glencairn Gleanings’ (published by the Simon’s Town Historical Society in 2003).

- Ute Seemann’s survey from 1998 (which was commissioned by the Simon’s Town Historical Society) provided useful historical information and informative sketches.

- James Walton’s detailed book ‘Watermills, windmills and horsemills of South Africa (1974), which is available from the Simon’s Town library.


drawing_planTwo internal dimensions were taken and the building assumed to be square for convenience. The ‘annex’ is measured only in width. Ute Seeman’s plan shows an out of square building, which is probably more likely. (Accurate measurements are impossible with dense alien vegetation and rampant brambles).

Dashed lines represent steps shown on US’s plan. I could not find much trace of these, nor purpose. They may have led to an opening into the annex (an apparently later addition), or enclosed a rock jutting out of the natural embankment against which the mill is built, or just be a neatly-fallen down piece of masonry. (The way the masonry has collapsed may suggest an opening in the position shown). Timber stairs would be much easier to construct than stone

stairs as well as being much more space-effective. These could have been situated anywhere.

The difference in levels between the rear of the building and the mill floor would make it very convenient to supply the building from the rear at the level of the grain hopper. The way the masonry has collapsed could suggest a doorway in the position indicated.

The window to the right of the wheel, overlooking the tailrace seems to be a given and US’s side elevation drawing even seems to show some bits of wood left from the frame in 1998.

The front door I have positioned centrally on the gable. This could have been situated more to the left to improve light and easy access to the working area near the mill controls.

Dash-dot lines represent the main structural roof elements. These have been set out from centered over the millstones as a double truss would have probably been used to support a block for lifting the stones. Diagonal lines represent the short hip rafters forming the ‘Wolwehoek’ gables. The front gable could have been a full gable as seen at ‘La Cotte water mill, Fransch Hoek. Welcome Farm seems to have been quite big on gables — Welcome Cottage has five of them. Roof covering was obviously thatch. I don’t know where Simon’s Town got her thatch from in 1820 but it must have been readily available. Local REstio reed would probably also work quite well.

The mill race position is quite clear near to the mill and from this the flume position and therefore the wheel position can be deduced.

drawing_s_elev drawing_e_elev


The  position of the axle slot and a single ‘Batavian’ brick (or slate tile), showing the springing point of the arch can be seen. There is also a clear groove in the plaster formed by some protuberance from the wheel, probably the bolt heads securing the ‘floats’ in position. From these, the approximate diameter of the wheel and axis can be deduced. The flume may have been higher than shown, depending on the lining used for the mill race.

The height of the roof is determined mainly by the height requirement of the building (in section) and the highest surviving masonry. The roof orientation is generally determined by having the rafters spanning the shortest span.

I find it unlikely that the entire roof would have been made higher just to accommodate a window above the flume (apparently a common position for the control of the flume hatch and therefore the mill machinery), unless it had it’s own gable (also unlikely). The idea of a window directly above the hopper, from where the Miller would have to somehow lean out through a one meter thick wall after scrambling up a ladder in order to turn off his machine, seems a bit illogical. It seems more likely to me that it was controlled from the other window to the right of the wheel. There is a straight line and some holes in the remaining plaster that I have extrapolated to suggest a position for the control hatch and a lever system. I assume the window would have had a shutter opening away from the wheel with a latch on the wall to hold it back.

Assuming there is another window above the front door, there would be plenty of light and cross-ventilation to the mill, especially near the ‘control’ window. All the mill controls could be convenient to this area i.e. the hatch control lever, the bridge-tree lighter screw (clearance between the millstones), the crook-string twist-peg (the riempie controlling the shoe angle and therefore the grain flow rate) and whatever the controls were for the meal dressing machinery occupying the floor next to the milling machinery (this referred to in an auction notice for Welcome Farm from 1842, which describes it as “...a substantial Flour Mill with dressing machine and Bakery, erected on the banks of he Else River”). The bakery has apparently disappeared and it is unlikely to have had anything to do with the annex due to the danger of explosion associated with fire and flour milling

section1 drawing_w_elev


From the position of the axle tree supports, the required levels can be determined for the tail race, pit-wheel pit and approximate floor level. It is also evident from the scale of the building that part (or all) of the building probably had a second storey platform. Feeding the grain sacks in through the upstairs ‘back’ door and then sacks of dressed flour out through the front would have made an efficient system that required no lifting of heavy meal sacks.

The ‘annex’ could have been added as millers’ accommodation, extra storage space or social space for people hanging around waiting for their flour. The annex is very low (if the main roof is in the right place) and it’s walls much thinner than the mill, which would suggest that it was not a very important structure, most likely for storage I think. The floor level of the annex may well have been lower (if it had a floor) but this can only be established by digging some holes to fix proper levels.




The water wheel is a clasp-arm type, which had apparently replaced compass arm wheels by 1820. The shrouds are 230mm deep with 32 floats of 250mm long (numbers derived from JC’s notes) and chose an arbitrary angle for the buckets. Measured with AutoCad I get a potential stationary load of 100 litres and I suppose maybe 80 litres when spinning. See Dr. John Cliffords notes for more information regarding power to the machine.

For the pit-wheel, I have taken a diameter of 1.2metres, based on a picture from James Walton’s book showing a small-looking man standing next to an assembled pit wheel and lantern (p75). It has 53 teeth to put it out of sync with the 8 lantern rungs to ensure even wear.

The millstones have a diameter of 900mm and start out 200mm thick. The depth of the lantern will allow them to wear down to about 75mm before replacement, (this was apparently usual). Millstones may have been smaller or thicker.

I have assumed sizes and positions for the damsel, feed shoe and hopper, only making sure that they would work together as a unit. There must be a lot of possible variations here.

An important feature is the alarm bell, which drops against the knocker when the weight of grain in the hopper no longer presses against the hinged metal plate inside the hopper. This would alert the miller to either shut down the machine, yell at his apprentice to feed more grain, (or go upstairs himself to do it). Apparently, letting the grain feed run out could result in rapid damage to the stones, or at worst, cause sparks leading to an explosion.

The dressing machine consists of an agitated, inclined sieve of varying grades, fed from the outlet of the stones vat and emptying into the meal kist, from where it is bagged to varying grades. The agitating rod was driven off the mill machine somehow (cog or cam) and could presumably be disengaged.


There doesn’t seem to be much more to seen from the visible ruins, but I am sure that a properly supervised excavation could yield some interesting information which may verify or inform my (and/or Ute Seeman’s and John Cliffords’) assumptions and conclusions and at least make an interesting story. I like the idea of using the site as a supervised student ‘dig’. An interesting challenge would be excavating the tail race as the river seems to have silted up quite a bit since last century (and even since Ute Seeman photographed it in 1998).


Click on this image to go to the Mosterts mill page on this site


Click on this image to visit the  original web site detailing Pauls - Glencairn water mill drawings