A Selection of Watermill Projects
Traditionally, a millwright was a craftsman with engineering skills who maintained watermills to ensure their efficiency to commercially mill using water as their power source. Watermill repairs would be completed without necessarily considering the impact on original material such as the structural fabric or milling machinery. Work was completed without thinking about tradition, conservation or ethics. The repair works on watermills were necessary for the efficient running of the business.
This is one of the most significant differences between traditional and modern millwrights.
In contemporary work, millwrighting takes place in a heritage environment where works need to consider the complexities of listed buildings and mixed-materiel collections.
Materials used needs to be chosen dependent on the environment, conservation aspects and historic accuracy rather than what might be quickest or most cost effective.
As long as watermills continue to be preserved and operated then millwrighting in some capacity will survive. However this is not guaranteed. With so few learning and employment opportunities the future of millwrighting as a transferable heritage skill is at serious risk of disappearing.
Millwrighting is a niche craft and will remain on the fringes of heritage craft skills. It is somewhat isolated due to its nature – This is not a negative, it simply illustrates the unique skills and knowledge that is required. There is concern that if new training opportunities are not furthered then the craft could disappear.
Education and outreach must be the two pillars in preserving and teaching millwrighting as a craft. Ideally, an initiative to support this training would be backed by cultural heritage organisations. Other craft skills are also endangered and a resurgence in interest and training is more invaluable now than ever before. Training and employment incentives are also necessary to ensure that the skills taught are practiced and passed on further.
Ian Clark Restoration can support your watermill conservation project on many levels, including:
- Condition surveys & technical advice
- Preparation of technical specifications & bill of quantities to support funding or procurement opportunities
- Scheduled maintenance
- Proactive & reactive repair & replacement solutions
- Staff & volunteer training
- Preparation of operational and through-life maintenance schedules & Manuals
- Health & safety audits & consultancy
- Report consultancy for fund raising & cultural development opportunities.
We supply our watermill conservation expertise to National Trust, Historic England, national and regional museum services and trusts, local authorities, public and private sector clients.
Read more about our conservation consultants for watermills:
View our watermill conservation projects
Here is a selection of watermill restoration and conservation projects carried out by Ian Clark Restoration. Click the projects below to view more details. Alternatively please get in touch if you would like to discuss a heritage conservation project.