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Fundraiser launched to replace waterwheel

Winchester City Mill has launched a campaign to raise £130,000 to replace the watermill and restore it to its former working glory.

The history of milling stoneground flour on this site goes back over one thousand years but in January it literally ground to a halt when the Mill’s waterwheel was declared no longer fit for purpose.

The current waterwheel was replaced in 2004, but the huge floods that swept the country in 2014, and several years of extreme weather since, have taken their toll on the wheel, which now needs complete replacement.

This is not the first time this ancient building has faced adversity. It was saved from demolition and rescued by the National Trust in 1928, and in 2014 the floods put the entire building at risk. Thanks to tremendous support from visitors and the local community, over £90,000 was raised to help restore the Mill, at a total cost of £300,000.

With the waterwheel no longer in operation, Winchester City Mill’s dedicated Volunteer Millers are now giving their time to speak to visitors about the Mill and how it would normally operate. Bob Goodwin said: “It has been a real privilege to come to the Mill every week and make fresh flour in the way millers have done here for centuries. It’s a very rare thing, possibly unique, to be producing flour on a site with a history of milling dating back 1,000 years. Visitors find the process fascinating to watch, especially children – they love watching the wheels turning and the flour rushing out of the chute into the bags.”

Michaela Saunders-Hall, Visitor Operations Manager for the Mill: “The thing about the Mill is that it gets under your skin, you can’t help but feel a bit emotional when you’re down in the Mill Race watching the powerful River Itchen thunder underneath you.”

Following a recent visit to the Mill to hear about the fundraising campaign MP Steve Brine said: “Everyone in Winchester will know about the City Mill, but even though we pass it everyday when was the last time you popped in? It’s a fantastic place to have in our city and it’s such a shame that the wheel has been out of commission. Next time you’re passing drop-in, say hi to the team and perhaps donate a few pennies or visit the new café which is a great place to meet up.”

Donations to the fundraising campaign can be made via www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winchester-city-mill or by visiting the Mill in person.

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