The old woad mill
Not far from where I live, the Winge river is sprinkled with a string of old mills ( or rather what’s left of the buildings). One of these was a woad mill designed to produce blue pigment for clothing, sheets, paintings and so on. Woad’s original habitat is the Caucasus, but being a rather invasive hardy plant species, it settled in Western Europe in the Middle Ages.
In the 17th century indigo became more popular than woad as a blue dye, later to be replaced by synthetic indigo. Indigo was extracted from INDIGOFERA tinctoria, a plant which was imported from India.
The mill was built somewhere before 1550. In 1914 the German invaders removed the cogwheels. The water lock and the remnants of the thatched roof still evoke distant memories of a long forgotten local industry.
Woad’s scientific name: ISATIS tinctoria
Mill photo: 2 days ago.
Other photos: the woad plant which bears yellow flowers, contrary to expectations,
and indigo pigment extracted from woad.