Suffolk mill may get new life

A SUFFOLK mill could be producing flour for the first time in almost 50 years if a bid to secure up to a million pounds of lottery money is successful.

A SUFFOLK mill could be producing flour for the first time in almost 50 years if a bid to secure up to a million pounds of lottery money is successful.

The lottery money would be used to restore the inside of the mill and, eventually, it is hoped that it may be used to grind corn again.

But first a team of experts need to be found to co-ordinate the project.

Fresh from the success of securing £83,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund money for the rejuvenation of the quay area, Tide Mill trustee Fred Reynolds is now hoping to start work on an application for the mill building itself.

When the lottery team, which included Robyn Greenblatt, the East of England's regional manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund, came to visit the site during the last application they suggested the Tide Mill Trust put in a separate application for the building itself.

Mr Reynolds, of Broom Heath, said: "We are in the preliminary stages of that now.

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"However, before we can do anything we need to find a team of interested people who are willing to donate their time to the project.

"We will be able to pay them a small fee but what we really need is people that are passionate about the cause and are doing it because they care about the building."

Mr Reynolds is looking for people who can help with all aspects of drawing up the plans such as architects, historians and builders.

Once the team have been assembled, and determined a rough outline of what they hope to do, Mr Reynolds will then apply for a £50,000 grant to help with the cost of drawing up the detailed application.

He said: "If we are successful with this we can then apply for up to £1million, but until we have explored all the options in more detail we won't know how much we need. I would think it will be in the region of at least £250,000."

Built in 1170, the Tide Mill has long been a part of Woodbridge's heritage. It ceased commercial use in 1957 but has attracted thousands of tourists over the years.

If you are interested in helping with the lottery application contact Mr Reynolds on 01394 385775.

Panel: How does a tide mill work?

-Tide mills are found along shallow creeks, usually some miles from the coast, safe from the buffeting waves of the sea but well within reach of the tide.

-Behind the mill there will be a pond.

-The incoming tide opens lock-type gates in the banks of the pond and fills the pond.

-As the tide falls, the first out-flowing water closes the gates and they are then held in position by the pressure of the trapped or impounded water.

-When the tide had fallen sufficiently – i.e. when the water wheel is completely clear of tidal water – the miller opens the sluice gates at the mill race and the released water, rushing out, turns the wheel and, therefore, the machinery.

-Woodbridge tide mill worked for approximately two hours either side of low tide. The miller's day depended upon the movement of the tide and his working hours were quite irregular.