Skip to Content

April 2018

millstones mar2018The furniture and casings from two sets of French Burr stones have been removed by the millwrights for inspection and restoration. The three sets of French Burr stones at the mill, of superior quality to locally derived millstones, would have been used to produce flour, the remaining two pairs of millstones being used for animal feed production. The French Burr stones were composites with pieces of the imported stone set in Plaster of Paris and bound together with iron hoops. The western set appears to be in good condition, the eastern less so. Bob Willis, the last miller to operate at Warwick Bridge in the 1980's, has scratched his name on the previous repairs to the eastern runner stone, and conveniently dated the repairs to 1962. (photos and text credited to Harry Beamish, Archaeologist)

company mark on millstoneThe lids of the four balance boxes in the runner stone of the western set bear the name Davies and Sneade, Liverpool. The firm, based in Cheapside, Liverpool, were well known nineteenth century millstone importers and millstone manufacturers. They were represented among the English firms exhibiting at the Paris exhibition of 1878 and at the Manchester Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1887

stone showing name and date scratchThe escape gate from the mill head race was removed by a previous owner for restoration prior to 2004, but fortunately one or two photos survive of the gate in situ. Closer inspection of the concrete repairs at the gate location revealed another scratch name and date, this time N. Myers and the date 1966. John Harrison's 2004 report on the mill recorded the components of the gate mechanism in store in the barn so the next step is to have a rummage through the bits and pieces in dark corners to see if they survive!

February 2018

man undoing bolts on waterwheelThe closing months of 2017 saw activity on the site with Neil Medcalf of Traditional Millwrights Ltd busy stripping the corroded wrought iron buckets and sole plates from the wheel for replacement – when the wheel pit was not flooded! The photo shows Neil starting to remove the first of the buckets. The original square headed nuts have not been moved for something like 170 years and are taking some persuading!

interiof of barn showing original featuresHarry Beamish, the archaeologist tasked with recording the ground works elements of the project, has been busy with visits to the archives in Carlisle to gather further information on the site; to the NECT offices to capture information from the project files and on site recording some of the external areas - also between floods! An initial look at the barn range which runs southwards from the mill building has revealed surviving elements of a threshing machine which was driven by belting from the mill and would have been a useful addition to the nineteenth century operations, allowing unthreshed grain to be processed. The photo shows this in more detail. Note the elevated "stage" at the north end of the barn. The overhead line shafting and pulleys served the threshing machine below. B – belt slot in the mill wall. P – pulley wheels, poss. from the thresher. J&T – surviving joinery.

September 2017 - Millwright and Archaeology research commences

In September we were pleased to be able to welcome Traditional Millwrights Ltd to site, and their very experience millwright Neil Medcalf is leading the repair work on the restoration of the milling machinery and the waterwheel and all the associated machinery, gates, sluices etc in order to bring them back into a useable condition. Work will be taking place on and off site, including the stripping down and restoration of the large wheel and will take approximately 6 months in total - although it is likely that the works will fit in around other activities on site, especially once the main building contract is underway.

June - December 2016. First phase of Emergency repairs start on site

main funders logo for the work on site

The first phase of repairs to the corn mill have now begun on site thanks mainly to a grant from Historic England. Scaffolding went up around the drying kiln at the end of May and the contractors are now carefully removing the roof covering and timbers, assessing their condition and will be replacing as necessary over the next few months.

We will be hosting tours of the works on site during this phase of work. The first of these events is on 13th July - see the community engagement page for more information

two men inspecting roof July 2016We held the first of our community visits to see progress on 13th July and had over 100 visitors during the day - including two groups from the local primary school. Everyone was excited to see work starting - and we were very pleased that so many people were interested in volunteering with a wide range of experiences and knowledge to offer.

july 2016 - re-pointing stone workEnd of July Update. The weather has largely remained fine, enabling the work to continue on site, new roof trusses have been installed alongside some of the original trusses to retain originality and strengthen the roof in preparation for re-slating. Some of the re-pointing of the drying kiln walls has also started.

On Sunday 7th August we held two site tours, one for members of the SPAB North Regional Group and one for local people and milling enthusiasts, when there was a chance to get up close and see the works currently on site and hear of our plans for the future of the building. We were delighted to hear the positive reactions of those visiting for the first time.

Early September update. Work has continued on site with much of the re-pointing now having been completed - this is slow and delicate work, and difficult to see from the roadside, but once the scaffolding comes down, it will be more obvious. The timber frame for the "louvre lantern" on the drying kiln roof has also been constructed and is looking good. It will shortly be felted and slated, making it weatherproof, but giving a new look to the drying kiln.

children with slates for mill roofOn the 30th September we held a "topping out" ceremony to celebrate the re-instatement of the louvred lantern on the top of the drying kiln roof. The event was attended by children and staff from the local primary school as well as representatives from the local community and funders. The children played their part in continuing the story of the mill by signing their names on the back of the new roof slates. Members of the local press and TV crews were also in attendance and the event featured on local television news and in the local papers.
A site board with more information about the works currently being undertaken has been installed at the entrance to the mill which we hope will help everyone to see what detailed work is being carried out and the rationale behind it.

newspaper article featuring local school children at warwick bridge corn mill
view from street

detail of new slating on roofNovember Update. Thanks to the mild weather work has continued onsite and we have now been able to complete the re-roofing of the granary, slating in the louvre at the top and completing some additional pointing work to the walls. We have also been able to undertake some timber repairs to one of the adjoining buildings and the complex is now better able to resist the effects of the winter weather.

February 2017 Update please click on the link below to read our latest newsletter on the project, and to hear a little about another hidden gem in the village that is receiving a face lift!

Other funders to whom we are grateful for their support for this phase of work include the Architectural Heritage Fund, Cumbria County Council through their Ward Councillors Community Grant programme and Cumbria Waste Management Environmental Trust.

Update May 2017 Thanks to the ongoing hard work of our kind neighbours and two volunteer gardening sessions in March and April, the grounds of the mill are looking much tidier and cared for, with lawns and flower beds weeded and shrubs pruned, vegetation cleared and intrusive ivy cut back from the rear of the building to prevent damage to the brickwork and windows from summer growth. The spring sunshine shows off the new oak louvre and slates of the granary roof, giving the building a new lease of life.

September Update over the summer months we have been working hard in the background putting in funding bids, updating the condition survey for the machinery and watercourse and carrying out ecology surveys to see what furry and feathered residents we have on site. This summer has seen several clutches of swallows, house martins and swifts all Following confirmation of grant support from the Arts Council England the specialist millwright has been able to start taking the waterwheel apart, in readiness for overhaul and repair. He will be working on the wheel and other elements of the machinery over the next few months, and we will be arranging volunteering sessions and training opportunities during this period. We also hope to be able to start the recruitment process for our Mill Manager and Engagement Co-ordinator in the next couple of months.