Stotfold Watermill

A workshop occurring within Stotfold Watermill

Making a difference

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for heritage

  • The condition of the Grade II listed watermill was improved. The millstones and machinery were restored and are now in full working order.
  • This heritage was interpreted through milling demonstrations, tours and displays. Without the working millstones and machinery the mill would have shown a less complete story of its industrial heritage.
  • The mill will be better managed thanks to the specialist skills developed by the volunteers who will maintain it.
  • The knowledge and skills of the last commercial miller to work at the mill were captured and recorded.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for people

  • Around 20 people volunteered time as part of the project.
  • The volunteers developed a range of skills. They helped restore the millstones and shadowed specialist contractors, learning the skills needed to maintain the machinery in the future. Traditional milling skills were passed onto volunteers through a miller apprenticeship scheme, to safeguard future operations.
  • Volunteers learnt about the heritage of the mill through working on the restoration and by carrying out research for the interpretative panels.
  • Members of the public learnt about the history of the site and the milling process while visiting the restored site.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for communities

  • More and a wider range of people were able to engage with the heritage of the site. The restoration was critical to the mill becoming a visitor attraction. The mill is now open on more than 20 Saturdays or Sundays from March – October each year, and is well used by local schools.
  • The area has become a better place to live, work or visit. The mill is now an attractive visitor destination and created a greater sense of shared heritage for the local community. It is also a venue for local societies to meet and work.

Lessons learnt

If a restored historic building is to have a long-term future, it’s important to have a range of skills on the volunteer management group, including business skills. Volunteers need to be managed well, with clear responsibilities, and recognised for their contributions. Make sure volunteer time is logged – the trust underestimated the level of volunteer contribution when applying for the grant. The value of volunteer time given to the site is now over £200,000 per year.

Back to top of page