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Battle of the bulge - ‘Unique’ 200-year-old mill set for full restoration

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 12 October 2020

Old Buckenham Mill is a rare survival and the largest of its kind in the country. At 202 years old it is showing signs of its age and is being repaired thanks to fundraising and grants Picture: Norfolk Windmills Trust

Old Buckenham Mill is a rare survival and the largest of its kind in the country. At 202 years old it is showing signs of its age and is being repaired thanks to fundraising and grants Picture: Norfolk Windmills Trust

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An historic flour mill is set to be shrouded in scaffolding as a major restoration project gets underway.

The bulge in the wall at Old Buckenham Mill. Repairs are due to start which will allow it to reopen to the public Picture: Norfolk Windmills TrustThe bulge in the wall at Old Buckenham Mill. Repairs are due to start which will allow it to reopen to the public Picture: Norfolk Windmills Trust

Grade II* listed Old Buckenham Mill is the largest of its kind in the country and a rare survivor of a bygone industrial age, according to Norfolk Windmills Trust (NWT).

The important relic was closed to the public two years ago after a bulge in the brickwork got worse.

The repairs are being funded by grants of £95,325 from Historic England, and £20,000 from the Association for Industrial Archaeology, with the remainder coming from the Friends of Old Buckenham Mill, and NWT.

Trust chairman Martin Wilby said: “I am very pleased to see this much needed work start on Old Buckenham Mill, which will enable it to be opened up to the public next spring.

A view of Old Buckenham Mill in 1936 Picture: Norfolk Windmills TrustA view of Old Buckenham Mill in 1936 Picture: Norfolk Windmills Trust

“I wish to thank the friends and volunteers at the mill who have been fundraising and campaigning to restore the mill back to working condition.”

Built in 1818 and previously owned by the Colman family, of Colman’s mustard fame, and then by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, the mill fell into disrepair before finally being taken into the trust’s care.

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Tony Calladine, regional director for Historic England in the East of England, said: “We’re delighted to support the urgently needed repair of Old Buckenham Mill with this grant.

A close-up of the brickwork in urgent need of repair at Old Buckenham Mill which has had some illustrious former owners including the Colman family and a prince Picture: Norfolk Windmills TrustA close-up of the brickwork in urgent need of repair at Old Buckenham Mill which has had some illustrious former owners including the Colman family and a prince Picture: Norfolk Windmills Trust

“As the largest diameter mill in the country, it is a rare survivor of our agricultural heritage and an important local landmark.”

Old Buckenham Mill also features a unique mechanism to turn the large, heavy cap and sails into the wind.

Work begins this week on erecting full height scaffolding.

The mill’s ground floor will also be removed and replaced, and repairs will be made to floor beams, the cap, and internal walls.

Once the first phase of work is complete the mill can be reopened to the public by the volunteer group while further funding is sought for the phase two works to the cap and running gear.

After this work is done it is hoped the mill may finally be removed from Historic England’s at risk register.

The final phase will be to reinstate the stocks and sails.


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