Radotín Creek and Mills

Several swamps are to be found in the fields near Ptice and Úhonice villages from which springs rise and together they create the creek of Radotín. It flows down for 22 river kilometers before it joins the river Berounka beneath St. Peter and Paul’s church in Radotín. At the turn of the twentieth century 19 out of 21 mills were run by the water of Radotín creek. There were mostly not only mills, having mill crest, but also other outhouses.

The first two mills were run by steam and later electricity since the creek was not strong enough, the other ones were run by water. A mill powered by “overhead” water was build wherever it was possible because it is more efficient. The most important thing while deciding what type of mill to build was to have a declivity. In the first half of the twentieth century turbines started to replace water wheels and of course the mills along the creek of Radotín were no exception. Francis turbines with horizontal shafts in open concrete fountain were most often installed. After the First World War the number of mills in operation began to decrease for many reasons: competition, progress in other industries, heritage problems and the political situation in particular.

The mills along the creek of Radotín bring us the pleasant memory of the old days, the feeling that we get while looking at vintage photographs. Sadly, the story of most of them is as sad as the one of St. Jan Nepomucký, the patron saint of Czech millers. However, we would like to think of the beautiful reminiscences instead and recall that time and its people and things with a pleasing nostalgia. “Those were the days...”

There was an old tradition to address the millers in Bohemia “Master Father”. Before the era of Maria Theresa of Austria (she reigned in the years 1740 – 1780) the mills mostly belonged to the church or nobility and were rented.
Widows who lost their husbands often came to the mills and their children got food and fostering there. The children began to address the miller „Master Father“ and after some time, so did everyone else.

59sv. Jan Nepomucký - Choteč u statku15_16