Conservation of historic Narborough bone mill to go ahead

Site owner and project organisers at the bone mill

The grant will be used to repair and conserve the remains and tell the stories behind its historic significance in the areas agricultural and industrial heritage.

Situated on the banks of the River Nar in Narborough the disused mill and its workings (including the waterwheel, millstones , timber gate and sluice-system) will be repaired and conserved with the help of local volunteers and opened up to visitors.

The HLF grant will help preserve the bone mill, with some work being carried out by up to 70 local volunteers. They will help clear the site, be trained to assist in conservation work and carry out research into the mill’s history as well as carrying out surveys of the area’s local wildlife.

The project will work with the Narborough History Society, local schools, colleges, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and the University of East Anglia.

Once complete, a supporting interpretation programme will allow visitors to the site to get a better understanding of this interesting historic site and the importance it played in the economy and day to day life of this rural part of Norfolk.

“This fascinating site played a significant role in the regions past and it’s a story just waiting to be told. The HLF grant will allow the owner of the site to repair and conserve the mill, work and train volunteers, and finally open up the site the visitors,” said Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England.

There were a number of these bone mills operating across Norfolk in the last century but the Narborough Bone Mill is the only site where substantial workings remain.

When in operation the mill was used for rendering down into agricultural fertilizer of bones from the local slaughterhouses and from the whaling, with bones transported up the River Nar by barge from the blubber-processing factory at South Lynn.

The mill stopped operating in the late 19th century, but the 16-foot diameter (4.9 m) waterwheel and the foundations of the main mill building remain together with three underground sluices and four millstones and the Nar still flows through the brick pound made by staunches and mitre gates.

Further information

For further information please email

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