National day brings millers’ tales alive
Suffolk’s mills opened their doors last weekend to take part in the nationwide National Mills Weekend.
A baker’s dozen of wind and water mills across the county, some not normally open to the public, offered guided tours of their historic buildings and brought in extra attractions.
It all helped to raise funds for the upkeep of the buildings that were once a vital part of country life.
For example, at Bardwell’s windmill, originally built in 1823, offered teas and cakes, fresh baked bread and craft stalls.
They even had a working scale model traction engine in the garden – a replica of the type of machines that once drove threshing machines to ready wheat for milling.
Visitors to Thelnetham’s 1819 mills, which was restored to working order in the 1980s were able to see round one of the mills that still grind flour.
Pakenham is unusual in also having two restored mills, one wind powered and the other a watermill. The windmill was built in 1830, and worked commercially until the 1970s. It has been owned by the Bryants since the 1880s and was restored in 2001.
At the 18th century watermill, Suffolk’s last working one, second prize in the day’s bread contest went to a ‘Colditz loaf’ with a knife baked inside by Steve Pittaway of Stanton.