Sacrewell Mill marks bread oven restoration

Sacrewell Mill, the water-powered flour mill near Peterborough that educates children and adults about agriculture and food production, has received the last of the money needed to refurbish its 18th Century bread oven.

The William Scott Abbott Trust which owns the Grade II* listed building embarked on a £1.8m conservation project to restore the mill and mill house to working order in 2014. The project has been funded through charitable donations and a £1.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, supported by National Lottery players.

A separate appeal was launched to raise the £5000 needed to restore the bread oven.  Roughly 80 per cent of money needed came from hiring the venue to the BBC that which used it as the filming location for its series, Victorian Bakers, that was broadcast in January 2016.  The remaining sum has been donated by farming co-operative Openfield which has also given food grade wheat for the mill to process into flour.

Openfield chief executive James Dallas said he was proud to support the charity, which should be applauded for its efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the role of agriculture in supplying safe and wholesome food.

“I am delighted to support such a worthy charity which concentrates on educating children in the role of agriculture in supplying safe and healthy food. The William Scott Abbott Trust has intimately restored the water mill and bakers’ oven to create an authentic window into the history of flour milling and bread production, so far removed from today’s modern processes,” said James Dallas.

“The more children learn about food production and agriculture and the link with the environment the better their awareness when it comes to making healthy choices. We are always willing to promote a strong alliance between farming, the environment and education and Sacrewell Mill is the perfect place for kids and adults to get a real sense of where their food comes from,” he added.

Each year about 110,000 children and adults visit Sacrewell’s visitor centre to learn about flour and the foods it is used to produce.

Sacrewell Mill general manager, Debbie Queen said: “The mill closed commercially in the 1960s due to lack of man-power and now with the support of Openfield, we have been able to restore and conserve an important part of our agricultural history and bring food production to the forefront of our offer once again.

“The Trust was founded in 1964 to provide an agricultural education for people of all ages and highlight the journey of food production from field to fork, but it’s more vital now than ever. By restoring the mill and oven we’re able to show our visitors not only how flour is made, but how it is made into bread. Some have only ever seen it sliced in the supermarket.”

For more information about Sacrewell and the William Scott Abbott Trust visit www.sacrewell.org.uk

Picture shows (from l-r) Openfield’s Sarah Bell and James Dallas mark the restoration of the bread oven at Sacrewell Mill with general manager Debbie Queen

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