Mill House Cider Museum,
A Dorset Collection of Clocks &
Spring Nurseries are in Owermoigne, Dorset -
'a friendly family run business established
for over 30 years'
In the early 1980's, Derek Whatmoor and his brothers had a farmer friend who owned an antique shop. He acquired an antique cider mill and press, and the brothers decided to buy it.
They bought in a small amount of apples and made about 20 gallons of cider, which turned out to be very nice!
The next year they bought a larger amount of apples, some hessian cloths and wooden formers - and made a larger amount of cider.
Over the years they made more and sold it to the public, buying in bottles, and wooden barrels from Eldridge Pope in Dorchester. In the mid 1980's they registered with Customs and Excise, as over 1500 gallons was produced.
For better advertising, they wanted to put up some brown and white signs on the local main roads. To do this they had to be considered a museum, so they went around Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Dorset, collecting unwanted and interesting cider making equipment.
Once the signs were up and more and more people were coming to buy cider, it was decided a larger shop was needed. At the same time the brothers built a gallery to house A Dorset Collection of Clocks, as at that time there were about thirty longcase clocks in the family home, and four turret clocks in the garage!
A new, larger shop was built at the same time as the clock gallery, and as well as cider, local cheeses, preserves, biscuits and other local products could now be sold.
A collection of artefacts including costrels, Horn mugs and obsolete measuring equipment (some on loan from Customs and Excise) are displayed in the museum.
The museum has over 42 cider mills and presses, a video display showing the antique equipment in use, and displays on the different aspects of making cider.
The museum has had many new features and displays introduced in the last few years, including 'Cider Fun Sheets' for the children, a display of the chemistry of Cidermaking, and a range of souvenirs in the shop, so each visitor, young or older, will come out knowing exactly how cider is made.