We were delighted to welcome Geoffrey Probert High Sheriff of Suffolk to Kersey Mill. He came along to help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Suffolk Mills and their fine work preserving and restoring wind and water mills in Suffolk.
Whilst here Geoffrey surprised us all by presenting achievement awards to Bill Griffiths and Chris Mills for their works, in Chris’s case to Thelnetham windmill and Bill on numerous wind and water mills.
Bill has worked tirelessly on the restoration of Kersey Mill and numerous other mills in Suffolk Essex and Cambridgeshire. His recent works to Gransden Wind Mill in Cambridgeshire is quite incredible.
Gransden Mill is one of the oldest surviving post mills in this country. It is both a scheduled monument and listed building and is on the Heritage at risk register as the structure’s condition had deteriorated over recent years.
Bill has almost completed the rebuilding of this amazing windmill over the past year and is a credit to him and those behind the project. Well worth a visit.
The work to the Hurst Frame at Kersey has continued and giant steps have been made. Paul Willis of Armour Engineering in East Bergholt came along to lend a hand with the reinstatement of the lay shaft that runs under the Hurst Frame. Paul had the unenviable task back in 2013 of disengaging the seized array of metal workings and now following its refurbishment was putting it back in its rightful position. The result being that the Lay Shaft and 3 Crown wheels are now turning again.
In the New Year work will continue to the Hurst Frame when we hope to reinstate the bed and bed stones but more on this next time.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
Works this month have been an important part of the restoration on the hurst frame, the central framework to hold the heavy grinding stones.
The sturdy wooden framework supports the gears and the grinding stones and was originally built around 1810 . There had been over the years much deterioration and the frame was extremely rotten in places.
We have discovered evidence of earlier machinery including to what is seen today, we have discovered the Bridge trees originally were made from wood and subsequently replaced with the cast iron Bridge Tress that can be seen today probably circa 1860 when the mill underwent a major overhaul including the rear extension that housed 3 further pairs of stones that were stem driven and a lot of automation introduced when the mill was converted to a white flour mill.
The Hurst Fame is particularly interesting in having a horizontal "lay-shaft" resulting with three pairs of stones being in a straight line.
These works will continue into the new year. Once the structure has been rebuilt our attention will move to the gearing and reinstatement of the stones.
This year we will be able to offer more surprises with this restoration work for our popular fundraising events Santa’s Workshop. Without these fundraising events our restoration wouldn’t be possible.
Tickets for Santa’s Workshop events throughout December are available and can be purchased through the ticket agency www.kerseymll.net or alternatively through 01473 8293317. Every child (oh and the adults) will have a magical and unique Christmas adventure.
September saw visits from Suffolk Centre Caravan Club who stayed for Heritage Open Days.
We were pleased to be open for tours during “Heritage Open Days” with plenty of visitors who were privy to the latest stages of refurbishment on the Hurst frame. Heritage Open Days are co-ordinated nationally with the help of thousands of volunteers. The September event is an opportunity for private owners to allow free access for the public to see important historic buildings. Heritage assets of every age, style and function open their doors, ranging from castles to factories, town halls to tithe barns, parish churches to Buddhist temples.
The Suffolk Centre Caravan Club were staying here during Heritage week and took great advantage of the Mill being open and enjoyed their own private tour. Jaguar Day was well attended with a range of very special cars on view
Works to the restoration of the mill have continued. Further repairs to the Hurst Frame have been carried out with the horizontal beam that runs along the front edge spliced and now ready to be lifted into place this coming weekend. Sections like this are very heavy indeed and can only be manoeuvred slowly by using a combination of ropes, elbow grease and block and tackle in tandem.
The tickets to Santa’s Workshop are now on sale via www.kerseymill.net. Or telephone reservations can be made 01473 829317. They are already in high demand with some dates sold out. Don’t delay in securing your child/s ticket for the most unique and wonderful Christmas adventure that
every child will remember.
Santa’s Workshop is set within the ground floor of the mill, with elves at work preparing for Christmas. The Mill building lends itself perfectly and is characteristic for the workshop, with noises of elves at work along with cogs & wheels turning, the sack hoist comes in useful for Santa to send the sacks of gifts up to the waiting elves ready to load in the sleigh. It’s not like your normal Santa’s grotto. We have many teenagers that have been involved and helped with running these events and we look forward to welcoming some of those again back this year. All funds raised are for the Restoration Fund and over the last 4 years we have seen huge progress on this. Thankyou everyone for your support.
Works have continued this month to the Hurst Frame restoration, concentrating on the repair and instalment of some of the brick structure underneath which over the years have become loose and in bad shape.
The majority of the Northern section of the Hurst Frame timber structure had completely rotted away so with intricate work cutting away old rotten wood and reinstating with oak to match the original. Locally sourced oak from Thetford is being used. Fortunately the majority of the front side timbers have been repairable and pictured here are some magnificent scarf joints expertly delivered by Bill Griffiths.
The machinery has painstakingly bees striped down & cleaned from many years of rust and freed from its seized state, all ready for the reinsertion once the timber repairs are complete.
We have again this month had quite a few visitors to the mill including the Historic Buildings Club and The Dedham Art group who have capture some moments in time and around the mill.
Kersey Mill will be hosting Jaguar day on Sunday September 3rd from 10am until 4pm. All public are welcome to come along and some beautiful classic and vintage Jaguars. Refreshments and raffle are being offered.
A more scary thought - Christmas is four months away . We are already getting calls enquiring as to the date that tickets for Santa’s Workshop 2017 will be released. We are delighted to announce they have now been released and are available on-line or by telephone, www.kerseymill.net for further details. Remember its popular to do book early to ensure your children get the most unforgettable magical Christmas experience ever!!! Mums and dads love it too!!
It has been a pleasure in recent weeks to welcome various clubs and organisations to Kersey Mill. Bildeston Ladies Club enjoyed a beautiful warm summers evening here for a tour of the Mill, Stowmarket Art Club enjoyed a glorious summers day painting the Mill from the front lawns, and the MGSVW club who drove their beautiful vintage MG cars to Kersey Mill and were given a guided tour and refreshments at The Copper Kettle . Our open days have also been well attended during the month.
Works to phase 3 of the restoration of Kersey Mill has begun. The Hurst Frame is a heavy wooden farm supporting the gears and three pairs of mill stones. We have discovered evidence of earlier machinery as mortices within the vertical timbers would indicate that the Bridge Trees were once made of timber. We believe that the cast iron Bridge Trees and current machinery was possible installed in 1870 when major works were carried to improve and modernise the mill.
A horizontal Lay Shaft runs through the Hurst Frame in a straight line with gearing transferring power to the mill stones via a Wallower and Crown wheel.
The majority of the frame is badly decayed and the machinery needs complete overhaul and all the wooden teeth need replacing.
Sometime ago we lost a beautiful Beech tree that was diseased and died. It had spent the past 100 years or so in the vicinity of the mill, We decided that we wanted to try and use some of the timber in the restoration so we called upon the services of Drywood to mill the timber for us.
With the warmer weather upon us visitor numbers have risen. There have been private group tours along with the many people taking advantage of the sunny days and leisurely touring the Mill & taking a look around the beautiful gardens which are now leafy and green.
The annual Drive it Day was a great success. Beautiful classic and vintage cars descended upon us in their droves on a lovely day. We had record numbers of visitors from near and far who enjoyed seeing the fine cars and enjoying the various attractions, touring the Mill & art gallery, sampling delicious cakes & enjoying the home made produce on the BBQ & The Copper Kettle. Much needed funds were raised from the raffle and cake stall, proceeds being split between the Friends of Kersey Mill Restoration Fund and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Our annual competition for “Best in Show” was nominated by a non-car person, this really means “ what car would they like to take home?” Amy Day from The Flower Shop was nominated as judge; she faced a very difficult task, after much deliberation she chose a beautiful red Porsche owned by Richard Wilding who can be seen receiving a bouquet presented by Amy. A very big thank you to all those that attended the event, helped with fund raising, donated and to all the marshals that gave up precious time, you all contributed significantly in making the day a huge success.
The following Sunday we were delighted to host the start of the CVCVC Cento Miglia in the morning and to also welcome The Classic Car Club of Bury St Edmunds that afternoon.
This weekend was National Mills Open Weekend, it was nice to see a good number of people some visiting us for the first time and others returning whilst visiting a number of mills.
The roof repairs over the wheel-house have been completed and the scaffold removed.
The wildlife around the mill has woken and with the warmer weather. The House Martins ,Swallows and Swifts have all returned from the winter in the South, the Kestrels are sitting on 5 eggs, (these are being monitored via our cameras and can be seen through video link in The Suffolk Craft Shop). this is the 5th year running that they have used this site. We are expecting the chicks will appear late May/ early June. We also now have two pairs of swans are nesting too. So it will be exciting to see new life beginning here at the Mill soon.
The open season is most definitely upon us. We have seen a large number of visitors during April and this is set to continue through May.
National Mills Weekend is the annual festival of our milling heritage and provides you with a fantastic opportunity to visit mills, many of which are not usually open to the public.
This year the theme is Engineers and Engineering celebrating the magnificent work that was produced locally. Many doors will be open and visitors welcome. Bardwell, Creeting, Drinkstone, Framsden, Heringfleet, Saxstead and Stanton windmills will be open in Suffolk and Euston, Pakenham Woodbridge and of course Kersey Water Mills will be open.
Until the advent of the steam engine, wind and watermills provided the only source of power for many different processes, from making flour, paper, cloth to hammering metal and extraction oils and pumping water.
Some mills are in working order and demonstrations are normally available whilst others like kersey are restoration works in progress and some in a state of dereliction. In some areas local mills groups and or volunteers have made special arrangements with mill owners to ensure their mills are open.
Bill Griffiths Mill Wright will be here at Kersey Mill for part of the day before heading off to Granston Windmill where he has been undertaking a major restoration.
Why not plan a route and see how many mills you can visit. For those keen cyclists it gives a very pleasant trip around the area with many, including Kersey having refreshments available on Site.
The works to the Hurst Frame and the roof and valley over the Water Wheel continue at Kersey Mill.
March has been rather an eventful month here at Kersey Mill. The springtime activity on the river is a welcome sight. The swans have returned, ducks making their nests and the Kestrel’s have returned to sleep in the refurbished box on the top of the Mill, ready to nest and lay their eggs.
Storm Doris caused damage bringing down an old Ash Tree and Willow tree both which had grown along the river bank but were too old and weak to withstand the high winds. Sadly we had previously lost a most beautiful copper beach tree; we are hoping to use some of the timber as teeth within the spur wheels which are located beneath the Hurst frame.
We welcomed on a very wet and soggy day 27 primary school children from Hintlesham School. They had been invited by the River Stour Valley Project. They helped with the planting of a variety of trees. This is a benefit to the ecology of the River Stour and its tributaries. The project has focused on stretches of the River Stour from upstream of Stratford St. Mary to Sudbury, the River Brett downstream of Lavenham and the river Box downstream from Little Waldingfield. The children thoroughly enjoyed getting involved despite the wet and windy conditions; at the end of their visit they enjoyed some craft activities at Glass & Craft.
On our open day we were blessed with beautiful warm sunshine. The water wheel was turning and the model of the Mill was on show for the visitors to see. We had David Coe the model maker and Bill Griffiths (Millwright) here to chat and discuss the project.
Our next open day is Sunday April 23rd “Drive it Day” which will see a number of prestige and vintage vehicles on show here at the Mill. The general public are welcome and we will have the Mill &, gardens open. There will be various attractions and refreshments. Bring the family. Open from 10am until 4pm.
Following the brief article in the HCN last month concerning the completion and arrival of the scale model so perfectly made by David Coe, we have received enormous amounts of interest from the general public and media all of whom want to visit and see this work of art.
With this in mind we have decided to have an extra, earlier open day of Sunday March 12th 2017 10am -4pm. Put this date in your diary. The Mill, gardens and all the commercial units will be open and the model will be on display for all to see. We are hopeful that David Coe may also be available on the day together with Mill Wright Bill Griffiths to enable visitor to discuss the intricacies of both projects. You will be able to see in detail the mechanics and how the Mill Stones operate along with the gearing mechanisms. The engineering of the 1800’s being really quite extraordinary and shows just how clever folk were of that era.
As our open day coincides with the completion of our newly built commercial units, we thought it apt to invite the public and give you the opportunity to see some new and diverse retail and commercial business that have joined the expending site at Kersey Mill; it is fair to say there is something for everyone. So do come along to see.
Our scheduled plan to restore the Mill’s Hurst Frame is gathering speed; we are currently taking detailed measurements and drawings whilst sourcing materials for the project.
Interest is building for the much anticipated “Dive It Day” (April 23rd) we are hoping for a fine dry day and are expecting a large number of classic and vintage vehicles. If you own such a vehicle do please dust it off and bring it along. Last year’s event saw a wonderful display of cars, some valued at mind blowing figures in excess of £8m. We saw some that some of us remembered driving with great fondness, in our younger days. We are in need of Marshalls for this event on April 23rd. If you are able to help please do give us a call on 01473 829317 or email ? Similarly if you are intending on bringing your pride and joy do please let us know by email via the website www.kerseymill.co.uk or phone 01473 829317. Alternatively take a look on our facebook page “Drive It Day2017 Kersey Mill “
The general public are welcome to come along enjoy the attractions whilst admiring some fantastic machinary from those bygone years. Free admission. Small charge for Parking with all proceeds to the mill restoration fund . Open 10am to 4pm. We look forward to seeing you.
A beautiful working model of the mill. This has to be one of the best models ever made and it is now on view at Kersey Mill. The model is made to an exact 18th scale. The main material of the mill is timber with metal and timber machinery so that is exactly what the model is made from.
The model maker is an incredibly talented David Coe who has literally spent over a thousand hours making this working replica. David often enters his workshop at 9am taking his flask and lunch with him and does not leave the workshop until 10pm most days. He admits that once he gets into the project it just consumes him, he is clearly a perfectionist as can be seen in the detailed drawings and modelling that exist within the project.
The detail incorporated is quite remarkable right down to the flour sacks, working machines and the timber frame. Each timber that makes up the frame is measured and replicated.
David’s engineering back ground has proven priceless in understanding how all the drives, shafts and belts would have worked. There are over 100 different drives within the mill and the model has incorporated them all.
The model is complete with working machinery and sack barrows together with flour sacks.
The model will be on display for our first open day of the season that is Drive it Day on April 23rd 2017.
Looking back 2016 has been a fantastic and will be a memorable year for Kersey Mill. We have made enormous progress with its restoration. With the frame fully restored we have been able to open the doors to the public.
“Drive it day” was a huge success with thousands of visitors. What a privilege it was to have some of the world’s most beautiful vintage vehicles on display. We are looking forward to “Drive it day 2017”. This will be held on April 23rd, so polish up & dust off your special vehicle to get the season underway. You are all welcome and entry for display vehicles is free.
It was lovely to have BBC radio Suffolk broadcasting live from the Mill as we officially opened the newly restored upper floors for the first time for the public. Following these works the mill was removed from the at risk register.
National Mills Weekend , being the annual festival of milling heritage provides you with a fantastic opportunity to visit mills, many of which are not usually open to the public. We will be open on the 13th and 14th May, Kersey Mill.
Our fundraising Summer Ball saw 130 guests revel and enjoy a beautiful summers evening. Delicious food was served, great music and above all a thrilling auction raising much needed funds towards Phase 2 of the restoration. Thank you to all those people from the local community for supporting the event.
The year 2016 ended with Santa’s Workshop attracting over 1000 visitors from near and far. This was absolutely phenomenal. This year we saw groups of disabled & disadvantaged children. One group of deaf children from The Ipswich Children’s Deaf Society where guided through their magical experience with an interpreter who was signing for them . They had a special treat as Cobwebs of Elmsett supplied two beautiful reindeers and donkeys for the children to see.
We really must mention the wonderful support with Santa’s Workshop from all those from the community: All Seasons Marquees. Cobwebs of Elmsett, Glass & Craft. Nestle. Graham Fuller Tracey & Jasmine Alexander Rachel, Emma & Sophie Knock Mabel Frost Katie Fox Elana Muncey Catherine Hood Jordana Leeks Shakira Winfield Ky-anna Cook Chloe & Olivia Davies Laura Flockheart Lucy & Beth Maskell Melissa Whadcoat Mia Kirk Poppy Bennet Georgia Pooley George Steve & Alison de Lara-Bell Chris Chaplin Gary Barnes Bill Griffiths
We would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported us throughout the year and wish you all a very happy healthy and prosperous New Year.