Earlier this autumn, Dave King showed his last visitors around the mill as resident miller/custodian, the position which he has held since 1992. Originally from the East Midlands, Dave worked as a miner, draughtsman and engineer before being selected (from over 300 applicants) by Cumbria County Council to succeed Thom Staites as custodian at Boot.
When ownership of the mill was transferred by the Council in 2006, Dave continued in day-to-day control as the Trust’s tenant, and has continued in that role ever since. The Trust therefore has no experience of direct responsibility for managing the mill, or its operation without him. Continuing to keep the mill running and opening it to the public without his vast experience will present a severe challenge.
Dave has declined any formal presentation to mark his retirement, and probably would not appreciate any lengthy encomium here. But it is absolutely necessary to acknowledge and thank him for his phenomenal knowledge of mills in general, and his great understanding of, and love for, Eskdale mill in particular. Thousands of visitors have been enthralled by his guided tour, and many have recorded their appreciation of his contribution to the mill’s quirky character and eccentric charm, in the visitors’ book, on TripAdvisor, or in the surveys conducted recently.
In order to ensure the preservation of some of Dave’s wit and wisdom, Len Watson has made sound and video recordings of several of his tours, and film and TV production students from the University of Cumbria made the film you can see on the home page.
The Trust thanks Dave and Chiko for the huge contribution they have made to Eskdale mill, and wishes them a long and happy retirement at their new home, not too far away. We hope Dave will not mind if we call on his experience and expertise just occasionally in future.