Work begins on historic watermill at Sacrewell

Neil Medcalf at Sacrewell EMN-150203-151211001
Neil Medcalf at Sacrewell EMN-150203-151211001

Skilled tradesmen have started work reassembling and refurbishing an historic watermill which is due to reopen in the summer.

The William Scott Abbott Trust has reached a crucial stage in the restoration of its 18th century Grade II* listed watermill at Sacrewell with the arrival of two skilled millwrights to refurbish and reassemble the mill’s wooden, metal and stone segments to full working condition.

The millwrights – Neil Medcalf and Steve Boulton – are from Traditional Millwrights, based at Farlesthorpe in Lincolnshire and will be working on site for two months.

They were hired by Stamford based firm Messenger Construction which is responsible for the £1.7m restoration project at Sacrewell, near Peterborough.

The project began last year, using a £1.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund with trust money.

The water wheel is the most recognisable aspect of Sacrewell’s 18th century mill which includes the mill pond, mill house, bakery and mill gardens. The wheel had been carefully disassembled early on in the restoration process, and many of the wooden elements were found to be rotten after 300 years of use.

Prior to the arrival of the millwrights, Messenger had been busy working at the back of the mill, casting reinforced concrete walls to stabilise the building and repairing the mill races to help with the flow of water from the mill pond through to the wheel.

The millwrights’ first job is to replace all of the rotten wood. The millwrights will also be stripping and refurbishing the metal on the wheel, restoring the gear cupboard and the large millstones.

Mill project officer Jane Harrison said: “Every day we see progress in restoring the mechanical workings of the mill come together again.”

Paul Gibbons, managing director of Messenger Construction, said: “Having a fully functioning mill once again is a sure sign that this significant restoration project is on the homeward stretch.”