We have just completed a full replacement of the waterwheel sluice gate, known as the penstock. This completes a wider restoration of the waterwheel mechanism started last September. Lode Mill is now fully operational and producing fresh flour once again.
The history of Lode Mill
A watermill probably stood on the site of Lode Mill at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The Mill which stands today is likely to have been built in the eighteenth century.
In 1793 the mill was described in a sale notice as 'Anglesea Watermill with dwelling house, yard, garden, barn, stables and outhouse and 3 acres of pasture adjoining'. Old photographs show the house next to the mill. The house was taken down in the renovation of the 1930s.
In about 1900 the mill was converted from corn grinding to cement grinding. The cement was generally made by firing a mixture of clay and lime or natural chalk at about 400°C and grinding the resulting clinker into a powder.
An engine may have been installed at this time, as inside the mill today there are some shafts, gears and a chain drive that are unusual in a watermill.
The mill was owned by the Bottisham Lode Cement and Brick Company. Bottisham Lode is the stretch of water below the mill, one of a number of lodes that were used as a transport link to the River Cam. The water above the mill is called Quy Water.
Unfortunately, the Bottisham Lode Cement and Brick Company was a victim of competition and the business had closed down by about 1920, leaving the mill to become derelict.
In 1926 Anglesey Abbey was bought by Huttleston Broughton, later Lord Fairhaven. In 1934 he acquired the mill and restored it to its original corn milling condition. This was completed in 1935-36, after removal of the mining and cement making equipment.
In 1978 the Cambridgeshire Wind and Watermill Society restored the mill to working order and in 1982 it was once again milling corn. Freshly ground National Trust flour can be bought direct from the Mill or our Shop in the Visitor Centre.
Redecorating Lode Mill
From Monday 29th April work will begin to give Lode Mill’s exterior cladding a fresh coat of paint. Scaffolding will be erected around the mill to enable access to the cladding. Once the scaffolding is in place, the cladding on the mill will be repaired and re-painted white which is expected to take 6-8 weeks to complete.
This is a task that is carried out every 5 years to keep Lode Mill watertight and to protect internal machinery from the elements. It also maintains the reflective view on Quy Water that Lord Fairhaven created in 1935.
The exterior of the mill has been white since it was built in the mid-18th Century. Originally it would have been lime washed giving it a white finish with a grey tinge. In 1935 Lord Fairhaven had the exterior of the mill restored and as part of this restoration the exterior was painted in the bright white you see today. To maintain the pristine, white exterior of the mill modern paint is used that is flexible, allowing for expansion and contraction in the wooden cladding to minimise cracking. It also has fungicidal properties to prevent the growth of algae on the surface and is environmentally friendly, so safe to use near water.
The mill will be open and milling as normal for the duration of the work. Please pay us a visit and learn more about the work we are doing.