Cheddleton Flint Mill gains museum status

Museum status granted for 800-year-old flint mill

VOLUNTEERS who maintain an historic water mill are celebrating after it became Staffordshire’s newest fully accredited museum.

Cheddleton Flint Mill was built more than 800 years ago and, after starting life as a corn mill, went on to play a vital role in grinding flint for the pottery industry.

Now its complex of buildings could capture the attention of more tourists as it has gained the same official status as Hanley’s Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.

It is already pulling in 6,000 visitors a year

In the long-term, the ready supply of water power could be used to generate electricity for the museum.

Ted Royle, of Brown Edge, who is in his 80s, has championed the mill for four decades and earned an MBE for his dedication to preserving it.

He said: “We are pleased with the accreditation. It means we will be able to apply for grants in future.

“Although the mill no longer produces flint, you can see the two water wheels in operation. It is the only water mill in the country that has two working wheels.”

Volunteers look after the complex, including two flint kilns, a drying kiln, and the actual mill. There is also a miller’s cottage, which is frozen in time to reflect how it would have looked during the inter-war years.

The last miller’s daughter, Irene Fleming, lives nearby. Now aged 91, she is overjoyed that the home she was born in has become part of a fully-fledged museum.

She said: “It’s marvellous. I’ve got lots of happy memories of the place.”

Mrs Fleming can recall helping her father Joseph Nicholls at the mill. Some of it was heavy work, including one occasion when she was up until 2am preparing materials for collection.

The mill stopped production in the 1960s and is now looked after by the Cheddleton Flint Mill Industrial Heritage Trust.

Volunteers keep the building going and spent two years working towards the accreditation from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). Before that, it was just registered as a small museum.

Treasurer Helen Outram said: “We are very proud of it. We have had to record every item there on computer, right down to a nit comb.”

The 67-year-old, from Biddulph, began volunteering there 15 years ago. She is among a dozen regular volunteers at the mill.

Christine Hackney was one of the visitors looking around the museum yesterday after spotting it from the canal.

The 53-year-old, from Warrington, said: “We hired a narrow boat from Etruria. We came around the corner and there was the flint mill.

“It’s lovely and is in a lovely setting.”

via Cheddleton Flint Mill gains museum status.

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