E. M. Gardner produced an extensive and expansive catalogue of handwritten notes relating to an array of watermills throughout England and Wales between the years 1947 and 1955. The handwritten notes of Gardner are arranged clearly by county in alphabetical order commencing with Cambridgeshire. Gardner's notes record details of the geographical locations, visual descriptions of the buildings and the extent to which the buildings had survived the test of time as well as the names of the present and past millers. All of E. M. Gardner's notes have been collated and amassed together having been separated from the notebooks of inventories, index cards, photographs and postcards which also comprise the E. M. Gardner collection. There are some newspaper cuttings which Gardner collected herself. The decision has been made to include and incorporate these newspaper cuttings with the handwritten notes for the relevant and at the same time interesting and valuable information that they impart.
This series is comprised of the twelve notebooks of E. M. Gardner. The first notebook contains Gardner's comprehensive transcriptions of the inventories of the mill properties of four millers ; two of which date back to the seventeenth century while the other two date back to the eighteenth century. The succeeding notebooks contain Gardner's independent observations and reflections on a wealth of information she acquired over the course of a number of years regarding watermills throughout both England and Wales.
The print photographs of E. M. Gardner encompass watermills of all of the counties of England and Wales. A small number of photographs date from the 1960s and must have been added to the collection by unknown individuals after E M Gardner's death.