Woodbridge: Tide Mill handed huge Heritage Lottery Fund grant

SUPPORTERS of an iconic Suffolk landmark are celebrating today after receiving nearly �1million for an ambitious restoration project.

The Woodbidge Tide Mill Trust has been awarded �955,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The money will help safeguard the historic attraction for future generations and fund an extensive restoration programme.

The works are estimated to cost a total of �1,227,000 - with the shortfall covered by the Trust following an extensive fundraising campaign.

The project includes protecting the foundations of the mill with steel piling and a new concrete breakwater, and the creation of a new wheelhouse to provide more space for maintenance and viewing.

Interactive models, computer generated graphics, games and puzzles will also give a “hands on” experience in how the mill and its machinery works.

Meanwhile the conservation work will be supplemented by practical demonstrations in flour milling.

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Displays, exhibition boards, information leaflets and audio-visual aids will describe the history of the mill, the lives of workers and the impact on the local community, highlighting the connection between tidal power and other sources of sustainable energy.

Nigel Barratt, of the Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust, said: “We are appreciative of the confidence provided by the HLF in offering the full amount of the grant requested.

“There’s still a lot more we’d like to do, and while this project is fully funded, additional fundraising is currently in hand and all contributions will be welcome.

“This is an exciting project that will enhance Woodbridge’s reputation as the gateway to the Heritage Coast and a popular visitor destination.

“The Tide Mill represents over 800 years of the nation’s heritage.

“As well as restoring and protecting this historic building, this innovative project will result in an authentic working tide mill, one of a handful left in the UK.

“We will be providing a ‘living’ interpretative experience to demonstrate and explain how our ancestors harnessed the power of the tide, long before it was considered an alternative energy source.”

Mr Barratt said he would like to thank all those who had helped with the project so far.

The award of the grant is a massive boost for the Trust, which had a similar bid rejected by the HLF in 2008.

However they decided to try again because they feared the effects of coastal erosion could cause the mill to fall into the River Deben.

Last night Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said she was delighted to hear the project had received funding.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of the HLF for the East of England added: “Woodbridge Tide Mill is one of Suffolk’s much-loved treasures and provides a rare example of this important part of our industrial heritage.

“Through the range of activities and new exhibitions this project will offer visitors from across the community the chance to explore and learn about the mill and its history, whilst ensuring that it is preserved for future generations.”