Friday, 3 June 2011

News - Historic building dating back 1,000 years to receive new lease of life (Millhouses)

AN ANCIENT former corn mill on the edge of a Sheffield park is to be rescued from dereliction – after a project to bring the building back into use was granted £50,000 of National Lottery cash.

Millhouses Corn Mill has stood beside the River Sheaf for almost 1,000 years, at the junction of Abbeydale Road South and Archer Road, and the surrounding suburb was named after the building.

It was originally linked to Beauchief Abbey but the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 saw the mill pass into the ownership of the local Lords of Ecclesall.

The 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.

It was bought by Sheffield Council, which used a neighbouring building for storage, but the site was abandoned six years ago.

John Brighton, secretary of the Friends of Millhouses Park, said: “The Friends took an interest when the council abandoned the site and severe deterioration set in.

“The small corn mill building has not been used for many years.

“Its stone roof is in danger of collapse, the walls bulging badly, and weather has affected the roof and floor timbers so the whole building is in danger.

“A partnership has been forged with Carterknowle and Millhouses Community Group and Sheffield Council to raise funds needed to get it back into use.

“The award of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund allows work to restore the building to start in the autumn.”

Mr Brighton said bids are being made to other sources for £140,000 to improve the interior, so it can be developed for community use – although specific plans for what facilities it will house have not yet been determined.

Fiona Spiers, regional head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “I’m delighted that this award will conserve the mill and highlight the historical significance of the site and how it has shaped the local community.”

The Friends have invited Lord Mayor, Coun Sylvia Dunkley, to officially launch the Small Mill Building Restoration Project at a celebration being held at the site on Tuesday, June 14, from 7pm, which is open to local residents and also includes a performance by band Brick Budgie.

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