The Great Mill was built by the Teutonic Knights in 1350 on the artificial island of the Radunia Canal, near a tannery, fulling mill, copper smithy, sawmill, oil mill, grinders and several other grain mills. The first record of it appeared in 1365. The building burned down in 1391, but was soon rebuilt. The second water mill called Small Mill, also located on the Radunia canal in the Old Town, was built around 1400 and served mainly as a granary for products from the Great Mill located on the opposite side.
In 1454, the Great Mill was captured by the inhabitants of Gdańsk, belonging to the anti-Teutonic conspiracy, which initiated the uprising against the supremacy of the Teutonic Order. After the Thirteen Years War, which was victorious for Poland, king Kazimierz Jagiellończyk handed over the mill to the inhabitants of Gdańsk. Until 1939, it remained in use and produced up to 200 tons of flour per day. During the Second World War it was partially destroyed. In 2016, it was donated to the needs of the Amber Museum.
The Great Mill was one of the largest medieval grain mills in Europe. It was 26 meters high and 41 meters long. Situated on an island created for this purpose on the Radunia canal, it was surrounded on both sides by water, which allowed to double the number of mill wheels, and thus increase efficiency. It had 18 bucket wheels with a diameter of 5 meters. These wheels were on the two lower floors, six of the upper floors were intended for a warehouse. In the annex to the east, you could bake bread, then sold, among others, on the Bread Bridge at the Old Town Hall. The only decorative elements were manifested in the fragmentation of both gables by narrow, pointed-arched recesses housing windows and in the crowning of the western gable with three brick pinnacles of a very simple form. Around the Great Mill there were also many other buildings, such as stables, bread stalls and the mill manager’s house.
The Small Mill was erected above the waters of the canal as a simple ridge structure with two triangular gables supporting a gable roof. One of the gable walls was decorated with narrow, elongated pointed-arched recesses with windows, under which a semicircular arcade was placed for the flowing waters of the channel.
Friedrich J., Gdańskie zabytki architektury do końca XVIII wieku, Gdańsk 1997.
Webpage wikipedia.org, Wielki Młyn w Gdańsku.