Old mill engine shed is rebuilt

Alan Sykes with a picture of the former mill.
Alan Sykes with a picture of the former mill.

The doors of a mill engine shed will open to the community after an eight year restoration project.

Alan Sykes and his family have reconstructed the historic building on Coxley Lane, Middlestown and are encouraging people to hire it for community groups, classes and art exhibitions. They also hope part of the engine shed can be used as an educational centre with information and photographs on the site’s history.

RESTORATION: The reconstruction of the mill's engine shed.

RESTORATION: The reconstruction of the mill's engine shed.

Mr Sykes, who lives in a property next door, said: “It was a prime site to be restored.

“We knew what it looked like from photographs and the rebuild is a very close representation of the original, but now over two floors.”

The original building, believed to date back to the 1600s, started life as a fulling mill but was later turned into a cloth weaving mill.

It burnt down in 1926, leaving just rubble and ruins. The former engine shed was the part of the building least badly damaged in the blaze.

Mr Sykes said: “There’s lots of history here and we wanted to tidy the place up. It has been left stagnant for too long. Fortunately, I inherited the land and was able to restore it.

“It’s an important part of local industry. We do not know of another fulling mill in this area.”

Mr Sykes, his wife Marilyn and his daughter Jeanette will unveil the restoration with an Easter event for the local community. They have organised an Easter egg hunt through Coxley Wood at 2pm on April 17.

Parents and children are invited to find ‘eggs’ hidden around the woodland and return them to the mill to exchange them for chocolate Easter eggs. Mr Sykes said: “We would invite people to come along, have some fun and see what space we have on offer here for the community.”