In 1793, Louise XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined and the Napoleonic Wars began. George Washington took the helm in America. And the industrial revolution came to Woodbridge, with the construction of its well known Tide Mill.
This large, efficient new mill stood on a site which had seen milling since 1170. Over the years, it’s been owned by monks, royals and private families. With changing times, the site fell into disuse, and by the 1960s it was a ruin. A Mrs Gardner bought it, and restored it as a visitor attraction. But by 2010 that too had fallen on hard times.
That’s where the Heritage Lottery Fund came in, with a million pound restoration grant. Spring worked with the Tide Mill’s trustees and architects to create a ‘Living Museum’ – a sympathetically restored interactive visitor attraction fit for a new generation.
Each of the Tide Mill’s three floors was given a theme, with the ground floor providing a summary of all the content, film viewing area, shop, reception and even a guided bird-watching platform.
Throughout the floors, visitors are educated and entertained. From informative displays and 3D CGIs of the wheel, to an extensive scanned library of documents, photographs and other records; from dressing up kits to ‘turn the wheel’ games and even a laser triggered ‘Mind your head bor’ low roof warning, the Tide Mill is a delight.
The piece de resistance is a working replica of the original wheel, crafted in oak by a Lowestoft shipbuilder. It allows the Tide Mill to mill again – and flour from the Tide Mill is available in shops, as well as being used by local artisan bakers.