Ptáček’s Mill (New Mill)

The mill was probably built when the town of Nové Město was founded in 1501, next to the local castle. The first reference to the mill was in a letter written by Jan z Pernštejna from 1540. It was built for grinding malt, with a rolling mill nextdoor. When the mill was repaired in 1578, the rolling mill too was improved. The mill prospered and functioned for many centuries. There were several millers named Ptáček on the Liechtenstein estate. One of them, Josef Ptáček, bought mill No. 48 in Kostelec na Hané from the nobility on October 31, 1751. His son Ignác (1744–1806) took over the mill in 1772. In turn, the mill passed to his son Florián, who initially took over the property but then bought a mill in Kobeřice in the Opava District in 1840, and so handed over the mill in Kostelec na Hané to his son Vilém, who operated it until 1862. His brother Theodor (born 1823) later took over administration of the mill. That same year, in 1869, Theodor remarried, and this second wife Magdalena was in fact the daughter of Alois Kreveta, another miller in Dědice u Vyškova.

Thus, two important families of millers were united. Indeed, Theodor’s sister married the owner of the mill in Nové Město nad Metují, and later passed the mill to her relative – Theodor Ptáček. He did not decide to take over the mill immediately: first he examined the situation of the Bohemia mill and considered the possibilities. After long periods of being run by tenants, the mill in Nové Město nad Metují was in poor shape, and Theodor Ptáček, an experienced miller, did not want to rush matters. Only after some considerable reflection did he finally lease the mill in Kostelec na Hané to the Vydra family, and took over the mill in Nové Město nad Metují, called New Mill, on February 1, 1875.

Theodor Ptáček rebuilt the mechanical parts of the mill at a cost of 12,000 golden coins. His son Vilém, after an apprenticing at his father's mill, worked in many other mills across Moravia before returning to Nové Město nad Metují and working at his father's side. Theodor was also publicly active, especially in local government. He was the founder of Městská spořitelna, but he only received permission to run the savings bank just before his death. Although the son was these days a co-owner of New Mill, now called Ptáček’s Mill, it was his mother who still ran the business. Later, having taken over the entire mill, he built it anew – from both the technical and economic point of view. He also built a weir and erected residential and farm buildings, previously these structures had been insufficient, wooden, and partly dilapidated. When he had finished his work, he placed an inscription on the main mill building: "Ptáček’s New Mill". The new name preserved the mill’s old historical name.

Miller Vilém Ptáček, like his father, was active in public life in Nové Město nad Metují. He worked as a member of the municipal council, and was chairman of the Provincial Milling Union. However, his son Vilém Jr. only ran the mill for 6 years. The mill was confiscated and its work was discontinued by the communist regime. In the restitutions after 1989, however, it was returned to the owner. The building of the New Mill or Ptáček’s Mill was sold in the 1990s, with only a single turbine still rotating there, supplying electricity to the grid. Vilém’s son, Bohdan Ptáček, reconstructed the farm building of the former mill into a two-storey family home. Immediately after the fall of the regime, he became a member of the city council and managed to restore the former Podskaláci Association and takes care of the Podskalí neighborhood as its chairman.

The New Mill/Ptáček’s Mill is located beside the Metuje River in a part of the city called Horské předměstí.

GPS: 50° 20' 31.4'', 16° 9' 23.4''

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