Lottery cash boosts campaign to restore historic corn mill

Work on repairing the derelict Millhouses Corn Mill in Sheffield begins later this year. Campaigners are hoping to raise �140,000 for restoration.   Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Work on repairing the derelict Millhouses Corn Mill in Sheffield begins later this year. Campaigners are hoping to raise �140,000 for restoration. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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FUNDING has been secured to launch an ambitious restoration project at a derelict historic mill in Sheffield.

The Friends of Millhouses Park group has gained £50,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to begin the restoration of Millhouses Corn Mill, which dates back to medieval times and stands at the junction of Abbeydale Road South and Archer Road.

Millhouses, one of the oldest suburbs in Sheffield, was originally named after the corn mill, which ceased work in the 1930s.

Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Yorkshire and Humber area, said: “Our industrial heritage is something we can all take pride in, and makes us who we are today.

“I’m delighted that this award will conserve the Millhouses Corn Mill and highlight the historical significance of the site and how it has shaped the local community.”

Originally linked to the Abbey at nearby Beauchief, the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 saw the corn mill pass into the ownership of local lords of Ecclesall.

Millhouses Corn Mill ground flour for the next 400 years, originally using water power but changing to steam during the 19th century.

New technology replaced the stone-grinding methods in the 1930s and, along with many other mills of its type, it closed and the site fell into disuse.

Since then the mill buildings have been owned by Sheffield Council but have now fallen into dereliction.

Initial work to repair the disused buildings will cost almost £76,000, so the Friends of Millhouses Park are currently trying to raise the additional funds required so that building work can begin in the autumn.

Treasurer of the group Richard Exell said that the restored mill would have a community use and possibly educational facilities.

He said: “The building needs saving, initially, which is what the first grant is for, and then another day we can look to raise further funds in order to do more.”

A spokesman for the Friends group said that they took an interest six years ago, when the council “abandoned” the site and “severe deterioration” set in.

They said: “Three years ago the site was top of the council disposal list, so the Friends sought ways to secure the small building structure to eventually return the whole site to sustainable use, as part of the regeneration of Millhouses Park.

“The council did resume use of the big building for the park’s mess facilities, storage and recycling. However, the small building has not been used for many years.

“Its stone roof is in danger of collapse, the walls bulge badly under its weight, and weather has affected the roof and floor timbers so the whole building is in danger of collapse.”

A partnership has now been forged between the Friends of Millhouses Park, the Carterknowle and Millhouses Community Group and Sheffield Council in order to raise the necessary funds needed to get the corn mill back into use.

The Friends group spokesman added: “There are other bids in the pipeline, totalling some £140,000, which should give us a working building based in, and part of, the park.

“There has been huge support from local people and local businesses.

“Physical work is set to start in the autumn, once all the technical work is finished, with completion by the spring of next year.”

The official launch of the regeneration project will be held at the mill on Tuesday, June 14 at 7pm.

Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Sylvia Dunkley will launch the scheme and a musical performance will come from folk band Brick Budgie.