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Watermill to be restored to working order

Museum of East Anglian Life secures National Lottery support

The Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £99,200 for an exciting heritage project to restore Alton Watermill. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will bring the mill back into full working order.

Alton Watermill is an 18th-century mill which was brought to the Museum of East Anglian Life in 1973 to save it from demolition when Alton Water reservoir was constructed.

This project will regenerate the mill and create exciting opportunities for the local community and visitors to get involved as volunteer millers.

Visitors will be able to experience and understand the inner workings of a watermill, and to see the role of milling in the process of bread-making. It will form part of a Bread Trail which will link the wheat field in our new farm and orchard area which opens this Easter.

Alton Watermill, built for the production of flour, is a traditional water-powered corn mill which was originally located in the village of Stutton to the west of Ipswich. The mill was used up until the 1960s, then dismantled in 1971 and re-erected at the museum.

The mill has an overshot waterwheel, which is unique in East Anglia. This type of mill relies on a water source at a higher level than the wheel, so that the weight of water in the buckets pulls the wheel around. Although this is the most efficient type of waterwheel, it was not common in East Anglia as the land is generally flat.

The mill restoration will be carried out over the summer and autumn of 2020.

Commenting on the award, Jenny Cousins, the museum’s Director, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are really excited about bringing the mill back to life.”







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