Jerndals Mølle: The Iron Valley Mill

For about a century, a large windmill dominated these grounds, benefitting from the wind-swept position on top of a hill. Situated in the centre of the yard, it was erected in 1878, only four years after Hvalsø had acquired its status as a market town with its own railway station. The mill catered for local peasants and seems to have been quite busy until around 1930. Through family ties, it was closely associated with a bread factory in the village, and it generated a whole family of millers and bakers and even a confectioner.  

In its early days, 13 people lived and worked at the place – the miller and his family, a maid and a number of assistant millers and farm hands. Later on, the number of inhabitants was reduced to include only the family and a maid, and local workers were employed on a day-to-day basis when needed, in particular around harvest time.

After some busy decades, industrialisation – leading to processes of, at the same time, centralisation and decentralisation – made the services offered by the local mill less attractive. The heyday of the mill had passed. Some tasks, such as the cutting of fodder for domestic animals, could by now be carried out by individual farmers at home or at the co-op in the village. Other tasks, primarily the milling of grain for bread, were increasingly taken care of by much larger, industrialised mills, which were independent of wind and weather.

Mill repairs remained very expensive – one new wing would cost as much as the annual earnings of a postman – but from the 1930s onwards, less income could be generated from the mill. It was sold and bought a good many times and remained in infrequent use, probably in a gradually increasing state of disrepair, until the great wings came to a final standstill around 1950. Bought by an architect it then suffered the fate of being transformed into a drawing office, but during the burning of garden refuse it burned down completely in the early spring of 1968. Only the wind remains.