The story of the Sawmill Centre at Tyntesfield

The sawmill at Tyntesfield was once the power house of the estate © NT/Tyntesfield

The sawmill at Tyntesfield was once the power house of the estate

In the heart of the Tyntesfield estate, just a few hundred yards north of the house, you'll find our learning hub - the Sawmill Centre.

A short history of the Sawmill Centre
The first of this small complex of buildings was probably constructed as a workshop or foreman’s office when this area was quarried for rock for building projects in the 19th century.

Additional buildings were added when Anthony Gibbs brought electricity to the house in the late 1880s. Two steam engines and multiple lead acid batteries were housed in what are now called the Engine Room and Lantern Room.

At some point, with the electric power now being generated, the decision was made to drive saw machinery in the old workshop, so timber production on the estate switched to this location.

In the 20th century, steam was replaced by diesel and then by the National Grid. The buildings were still used into the latter half of the century but not for their original purpose. By the time we acquired Tyntesfield in 2002, they were in very poor condition.

Saving the sawmill
After consultation and planning, we decided to restore and convert the main section of the building into our learning centre as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Capital Works Programme.

A great amount of work was needed to do this It was a milestone on our road to the restoration of Tyntesfield when the keys to the sawmill were handed to us in early 2009.

As part of this work, half of the wood shed was converted into a 'bat palace' to create a new roost site for bat species living in the area. The other half now houses the biomass boiler for the main house.

An amazing resource
The sawmill is now a multi-purpose space, carefully and considerately restored, with its industrial heritage and rustic atmosphere surviving very much intact. It's the home of our successful Formal Learning Programme for schools, with thousands of schoolchildren and learners of all ages visiting each year.

For more information, including pricing, contact one of the team to discuss your requirements. Email us or call 01275 465578.