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Heritage Open Days 2019

activities at warwick bridge as part of Heritage Open Days 2019

June-August

During the summer months we have been working towards getting the building works complete and continuing our training opportunities for volunteers and others. We held training sessions in stonemasonry and lime pointing, a masterclass with our millwright covering some of the basic maintenance issues, and a session clearing out the millrace and discovering some of the interesting bottles, boots and other debris that has accumulated there over the years. More gardening activities have taken place, clearing the invasive weeds and cutting back the shrubs to a more manageable level. A few more of the kiln tiles have been cleaned and they are now ready for a protective coating of beeswax before they go on display.

We planted three beds of flax as part of the Heron Mill project, one of which managed to get dug through by the builders, but the remaining two beds have started to flower.

Following the successful public meeting in April, a steering group has been meeting regularly over the last few months fleshing out the details and the business plan for the Community Benefit Society and a share issue which we hope will be launched during the autumn.

The next big event is Heritage Open Days in September, with a day of activities planned as well as building tours on three days this will be a good opportunity to show what has been achieved over the last 18 months or so and share our vision for what is coming next. We hope to be able to show the wheel and millstones in action - something that hasn't happened since the late 1980s - with the exception of a couple of brief test runs of the waterwheel earlier this year.

Update March - May

Work has continued over the last few months, with the site being a hive of activity - our contractors, millwrights, engineers and ecologists have all been busy, progressing work on the building and preparing for Spring. We've put up some new artificial nest boxes to encourage our resident swallows and housemartins to roost in new spots to keep them away from the building works and we are keeping an eye on the resident water birds who like to nest in the riverbank. Our volunteers are adding to their skill set with some additional training in ironwork conservation - we invited volunteers from Eskdale and Heron Corn Mill to join us to share the learning - and with two days of training behind them, they are now well placed to restore our Victorian kiln tiles that sit on the framework at the top of the drying kiln. Karen brought along some other metal objects from our collection and we had a good time identifying them and seeing how they could be restored.

On the evening of the 3rd April we held a public meeting to update volunteers and members of the public on the work to date, and to explore the potential for setting up a community benefit society to run the mill on a daily basis. With experts on hand to talk through the practicalities and a potential bakery operator in attendance (with some lovely samples of their produce) the meeting gave us a clear indication that this was something that could be developed further, and follow up meetings are being scheduled. If this is something you'd like to know more about, or be involved with, please give us a ring, or call at the mill and leave your details with Karen.

Our gardening team are lined up for another session now that the drainage runs around the outside of the building have been established, with a big garden de-weed set for Thursday 16th May. We are delighted to be assisting Heron Corn Mill with their 1220-2020 Flax project and will be growing flax in the garden at Warwick Bridge. It will be interesting to see how this grows on our site, and to see the flax turned into linen and woven into cloth along with flax grown by volunteers all over the UK. A very interesting project indeed.

Two sessions of traditional building skills training are being held, the first on 22nd May and the second on 11th June. Details of these can be found on the home page Open to all - no experience necessary, but places are limited so early booking is recommended.

Volunteer Activities October to February

Over the last few months our hardy band of volunteers have been working alongside Karen and Beth keeping the gardens neat and tidy which included the not insignificant task of transplanting our big fuschia to keep it safe while the building repairs are being undertaken (and taking numerous cuttings just in case!). Following on from some specialist oral history training in October, they've also been out and about visiting local people to record their memories of the mill, and undertaking research at the archives in Carlisle. This will all help to inform our understanding of the life of the mill and of those who used it or worked there in the past to enable us to tell its story in the future.
Other activities so far have included helping clean and store some of the machinery and starting to create a record of the items that will form the basis of our collection - with a workshop from Lancashire Museums Service at the end of February to ensure we are doing things correctly.

The next workshop will be on ironwork conservation - this is due to take place in early April, and will enable us to restore the special waffle kiln tiles that we have before they go back in to place in the drying kiln.

kiln tile awaiting restoration

As the mill starts to be revealed from under its scaffolding, we will have more opportunities for volunteers to get involved.

If you'd think you might like to be part of our volunteer team, please pop along and see Karen our miller on site, or drop us an email

Primary School visit June 2018

On Tuesday 26th June Warwick Bridge Primary School visited the Mill to explore the progress which had occurred since their previous visit. The school children were given a tour of the site by archaeologist Harry Beamish and our new Mill Project Manager Karen Mason. They explained all the work they had done, exciting finds they had made and work which would be happening soon. After the tour of the site the children had the opportunity to participate in an object handling session led by Karen. She showed the children many interesting objects and invited them to guess what they could be. Among the favourites were a set of ‘horseshoes’ for a person, an old fashioned weight and a lamp.
With restoration work continuing at the mill over the summer and beyond the children have been invited back during the autumn term so see more changes and any other treasures the works may unearth.

SPAB Mills Weekend 2018

Over the weekend of 12th and 13th of May mills throughout the UK were open as part of National Mills Weekend. This was an opportunity too good to miss for us, so we opened the mill on a gloriously sunny Sunday and welcomed 70 visitors to the mill, to see the progress we've made so far with the repairs, hear about the work of the millwrights, what's coming next and to share with us their own memories of the mill and that significant part it has played within the community. Members of The Warwick Bridge and District Local History Group helped us on the day and brought along some interesting displays featuring some of the other significant buildings within the village and gathered little snippets of information from visitors to add to our oral history. Thanks for all who came along and supported us - we hope to see you again soon.

Garden Blitz activities

Many thanks to our willing volunteers who came along on Friday 31st March for our first Garden Blitz session. The weather was fine and dry and the grounds are looking a lot tidier now. We really do appreciate everyones efforts.

We held our second volunteer gardening session on Wednesday 26th April, and thanks go to all our volunteers for sharing their knowledge and hard work. Over 30 large bags of garden waste were taken away for composting. The gardens are looking much better now. Photos below:

SPAB Maintenance Volunteers visit

In January 2017 we were pleased to be able to show volunteers from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Maintenance Co-operative around the mill. The volunteers were interested to hear about our plans for learning and hands on heritage skills, with several people signing up to volunteer on the project!

Volunteers in the grounds at Warwick Bridge Corn Mill

Topping Out Ceremony

On the 30th of September 2016 we celebrated 'topping out' the new roof on the drying kiln which is a major part of the emergency repairs funded by Historic England. The louvre in green oak looks amazing and the new Westmorland slate roof will keep the building water-tight. We were delighted to be joined at the ceremony by students from Warwick Bridge Primary School, members of Warwick Bridge and district local history group and City and County Councillors. The students each signed their name on the underside of a slate which we hope will remain in situ on the roof for at least 100 years!

Warwick Bridge Primary School pupils attending topping out ceremony at Warwick Bridge Mill

Specialist Interest Groups

In August 2016 we hosted visits by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Northern members group and volunteers from other mills in Cumbria, including Acorn Bank Mill.Its great to hear from other successful mills!

Visitors looking at window detail inside Warwick Bridge Mill

Community Engagement is key to all our building preservation projects. The support and interest of the local community is crucial to the success of this type of restoration. We are delighted to be working with the local primary school, the local history group, the local Rotary Group, as well as special interest groups such as the North West Mills Group and anyone in the local community and beyond who would like to be involved.

group of people looking at scaffolded building

Community day 13th July 2016

Free guided tours of the corn mill Wednesday 13th July 2016.
Have you been wondering what's happening at the Mill now that scaffolding is in place? Join us for a guided tour and learn the history of the site, see the works currently underway and hear about our plans for the future.
Pre-booking essential. tours at 12,1,2,3.30, 5 and 6pm.
Book your space by email (admin@nect.org.uk) or phone (0191232 9279)

Local History Exhibition, Saturday 4th June 2016

Warwick Bridge Primary School is to host an exhibition by local history society members sharing their oral history recordings with local people and displaying old maps, photos, cencus and other archive material. NECT will also be on hand to talk about progess with works on site at the Mill.

The event takes place from 10.00 - 3.30 pm and all are welcome.

School presentation 9th February 2016

model of mill building9th February saw the presentation of the work of the school to parents and other interested members of the community. There was a chance to talk to ecologists who have been working on the site, as well as see pipistrelle bats. This was also reported in the local paper, the Cumberland News on 12th February and you can read the full article below.

First School visit to the Mill January 2016

Our education and outreach officer, Elanor Johnson, has been working closely with the whole of Warwick Bridge Primary School during this term, and as well as classroom sessions with the children talking to them about the history of the building, and the milling process, also had two days of site visits when each class in the school came out to the mill and saw inside for the first time. The visits were in early January, after the village had been hit by severe winter storms, so they were able to see the effect of rising water levels on the mill and the water course. After their visits, the children returned to school, and in the following few weeks, were involved in writing reports, letters to funders, making models of the mill, and coming up with ideas on how the mill could once again be part of village life.

group of children outside cornmill