Sarehole Mill, Moseley, to start milling flour and baking bread
Readers of my blog will know that the sluice gates at Sarehole Mill, Moseley, are presently being replaced, in preparation for the de-silting of the millpond that powers this watermill. To see my blogpost on this, please go to http://martinmullaney.blogspot.com/2012/01/sarehole-mill-moseley-to-get-three-new.html
Since that date, I’ve been working with the Sarehole Mill museums staff to put in a bid for further works to the mill......and I’ve been successful in getting this money from the Council’s Finance department.
I’ve managed to get £310,000 which will do the following:
• Completely de-silt the mill pond and bring it back to its original size in 1900. At the moment, the millpond is one third silted up and what remains is only 3 inches deep in the Summer.
• Completely re-roof the mill. The mill was last re-roofed in the major restoration of 1969. Since that time, large sections of the clay tiles have split due to frost damage and many are held in place only by the weight of the other tiles.
• New flour milling equipment will be installed, that satisfy modern health and safety standards. The present milling equipment has been damaged by wood worm and as a result is not suitable for commercial flour milling. With the de-silted millpond, we hope to be able to sell stone ground floor from Sarehole Mill
• Restoration of the bakery that dates from 1850, so as to bake bread again. One of the ancillary buildings was a bakery from 1830 to 1850.....and it is still intact. The huge brick built oven has a few cracks in it due to land movement, but we are aiming to fix this and get it operational again. There is a room next to the bakery, which can easily be converted into a preparation area for an artisan bakery to use. I attach a photo showing the bread oven.
We are aiming to get all this work completed by December 2012, when The Hobbit film is released. JRR Tolkien said that Sarehole Mill and the surrounding area, including Moseley Bog, were the inspiration for The Shire in the Hobbit. Sarehole Mill itself was the inspiration for ‘the great mill’ in The Shire.
As JRR Tolkien said of Sarehole
“ It was a kind of lost paradise ... There was an old mill that really did grind corn with two millers, a great big pond with swans on it, a sandpit, a wonderful dell with flowers, a few old-fashioned village houses and, further away, a stream with another mill. I always knew it would go — and it did”. - interview with Guardian journalist, John Ezard in 1966, before the mill's restoration.