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And so it begins…

March 28, 2012

On Monday 23rd January, we handed Nether Alderley Mill over to our contractors – the architects Wiles Maguire and the conservation experts Lambert Walker – who will be doing all the crucial work that’s needed to ensure Nether Alderley Mill is kept in good nick.

Over the coming months, there’ll be plenty going on.   First things first, the contractors will be building a large scaffolding enclosure around the mill itself (pictured above), then Nether Alderley Mill’s roof will be coming off, and the timber and masonry structure will be repaired and strengthened before the roof is carefully replaced.  And, in the meantime, we’ll also have the sub-contracted millwrights, specialists in historic corn mills, working on the mill machinery and making sure its fit for purpose…

But this isn’t the only work that’s been happening!  In the background, before work on-site even started, the National Trust have been busily working behind the scenes both from Quarry Bank, which oversees Nether Alderley Mill, and regionally, to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity to reinvigorate this very special place…

Understanding the history of Nether Alderley Mill

Since summer 2011, the mill has been invaded by many visitors, all of them working hard to pull together the plans and surveys that give us a crucial overview of Nether Alderley as a building and as a slice of history.

Over the past months, we’ve had:

  • a team of archaeologists, surveyors and historians making countless investigations as well as examining the historical records to produce an Historic Buildings Survey.  The Historic Buildings Survey helps us to build a comprehensive understanding of the history of both the building itself and the mill mechanism.
  • our existing Nether Alderley volunteers taking us on a full tour of the mill so that we could hear all their stories about the mill’s history.  We have such a dedicated team of existing volunteers who know the mill like the backs of their hands, so it made complete sense to draw on their knowledge of the mill and its stories so that we can investigate them further where necessary.
  • a team of regional and property staff (including Lucy, the Trust’s regional curator for the North West, Phyllis our Project Manager, and the Heritage and Collections department of Quarry Bank Mill and two of our interns) braving the freezing December temperatures to make a comprehensive inventory of all the objects of interest in the mill, something which has never been done at Nether Alderley Mill.  This very important exercise allowed us to take stock of both the historical and the non-historical material on site, so that we can make sure that we protect any important objects within the mill as well as the building itself and the mill mechanism.

And even though all of work has been done, we’re still busy beavering away!  We’ll be continuing to ask ourselves how all this important work feeds into the story of Nether Alderley Mill…

Bringing the Nether Alderley Mill to life

Not only are we hoping to conserve Nether Alderley Mill, but we also want to make sure its story can be seen and experienced by as many people as possible!  There’s a lot to think about though, before we can ‘bring Nether Alderley Mill to life’ for our visitors, and there’s only so much we can plan before the work on site is well underway….

We’ve made a start, looking at how we’re actually going to run the mill when it reopens.  We’ve had countless discussions about volunteering, ticketing, car parking and toilets, and we’ve also been gathering inspiration from other National Trust corn mills, such as Stainsby MillWinchester City Mill and Acorn Bank.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Stuart Mousdale permalink
    April 4, 2012 22:44

    Glad to see work is finally underway and look forward to revisiting the mill in the future. The NT should advertise the fact that this one of the oldest surviving and, therefore, one of the most significant mills in Britain (alongside Fountains Abbey and Dunham Massey mills, both also NT owned).

  2. July 17, 2012 09:49

    I’m pleased to see the work is progressing – for so long it was closed and nothing happening. It was probably one the first water mills I visted way back in the 1070’s so I feel a special tie to it. I hope the orginal work of restoration by Cyril Boucher will be some how commemerated in the restored mill – without his efforts you might have had nothing to conserve or restore today!

  3. July 17, 2012 09:51

    Should obviously been 1970’s – I’m not that old!

  4. Peter Housley permalink
    October 25, 2012 16:31

    A great video by enthusiastic staff. You should use this to promote the work of the Trust. Well done, I look forward to visiting the completed project soon.

    • Alan Gifford permalink
      November 27, 2012 15:51

      But is it finished yet? I have found following progress very sporadic on the site!! Alan Gifford

      Subject: [New comment] And so it begins…

      Peter Housley commented: “A great video by enthusiastic staff. You should use this to promote the work of the Trust. Well done, I look forward to visiting the completed project soon.”

      • nicolacampbell permalink*
        November 28, 2012 14:09

        Hello Alan

        The building work has now finished on the Mill but there are still a few tweaks needed on the machinery. It you watch this space, I am going to be posting an update of where the project is up to and announcing our opening date!

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