The Mills of Northern Ireland project consists of the development of an online resource which maps over 3,200 mills of various types across Northern Ireland. The website, www.millsofnorthernireland.com, has been developed solely by Sebastian Graham without any external funding, using a range of source materials available via the Public Records Office, N.I. and local historical records and maps.
Following his employment as a National Trust guide in Wellbrook Beetling Mill, Sebastian developed an interest in combining modern information technology and historical records to improve recording and interpretation of mill sites and buildings. He recognised the desire from many local and overseas visitors to be able to access information on mills and local connections to history. This led him to develop a website to map mills and their history. Sebastian, has in his own time, also carried out extensive site visits to historic mills and industrial sites, and has interviewed many local people about their local significance and stories.
The aims and objectives of the project changed and modified as it progressed. Initially it was intended to gather information about mills solely in the vicinity of Cookstown, however, it then grew to include a much wider geographical focus, across Northern Ireland. Sebastian has received regular requests to conduct talks and presentations on the subject. Until the development of this resource, much of the information about this topic was not readily available to the general public. Through this project many more people are able to access and learn from the online resource and explore an enriched, permanent record of mill heritage in Northern Ireland.