Woodbridge: Tide mill expertise shared on national stage

Nigel Barratt, vice chairman of the Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust, has given a talk for the mills secti

Nigel Barratt, vice chairman of the Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust, has given a talk for the mills section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. - Credit: Archant

THE vice chairman of a group behind a major restoration of one of Suffolk’s most well-known landmarks has shared its expertise on the national stage.

Nigel Barratt, from the Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust, was invited to speak at the spring meeting of the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

The riverside attraction underwent a major £1.2million restoration last year and the SPAB were keen learn more about the project.

Mr Barratt is a member of the society and he was asked to share the group’s experiences.

His talk covered a brief history of the mill from its origins through to the present day.

Mr Barratt said: “The talk described the recent improvement project, aided with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, so that the mill has been entirely renovated, made more visitor friendly, and its machinery overhauled together with a new 18ft diameter waterwheel.

“Its visitor attraction has been brought up to modern expectations with fresh displays, interactive models, audio stations and the like, all designed to demonstrate three themes of the technology of milling, its historical and cultural heritage, and the story of bread from field to mouth.

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“Most importantly, it is now fully capable of milling flour again using the power of the tide. This makes it one of only two tide mills in the country able to do so, and regular flour milling will take place from this year on.

“It will continue to be dependent on visitor income, but supplemented by the sale of its flour, this will hopefully prove enough to continue to maintain the mill for the benefit of generations to come.”

Also on the programme of speakers for the spring meeting were windmill authority Vincent Pargeter and water mill expert Martin Watts.

The Woodbridge Tide Mill re-opens to members of the public on the Easter weekend.

Before that it will host schools as part of the Science Association’s National Science and Engineering Week and later on in the year it will host photography workshops, a millers’ weekend and exhibitions.

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