In the summer of 2012, The Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust was awarded £969,600 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to support a major restoration project. This undertaking has seen this 1793 working tide mill become one of the Suffolk coast’s most popular historical attractions.
The Trust, whose team is formed entirely of volunteers, commissioned Spring following an exhaustive selection process, based on our creative vision for the space and project management capabilities.
Our first task was to develop an exhaustive plan of action for the year from commission to launch, including briefing specialist sub contractors on behalf of the Tide Mill Trust. We also had to set out the budget to the last penny right at the start of the project.
We dubbed the Tide Mill a ‘living museum’ and our creative and means of communicating its history and engineering all reinforce this.
The Tide Mill’s story has a variety of elements. From the people who have worked there through the years, to the tides that make it work, to the engineering and craftsmanship behind the mechanics, it’s a rich source of education for visitors of all ages.
Following extensive research amongst similar museums and our own experience of comparable projects Spring set out a plan for a diverse, interactive mixed-media experience.
We commissioned handmade costumes for a children’s dressing up corner, complete with illustrations of who would wear what, and why. We created 3D computer generated video of the wheel, using cut-through’s to show how each section works, piece by piece. We installed binoculars and newly designed bird watching charts for the room that juts out over the Deben. We scanned and photoshopped hundreds of original documents, maps, illustrations and photographs, which have been committed to digital format for easy viewing. And we designed a suite of informative, easy-to-read and attractive panels and displays.
Alongside creative and media, project management has been fundamental to the success of this project. Spring’s account director for Tide Mill visited the site for build meetings, instructed the electricians on positioning of lighting and cabling, and met the architect, model maker and trust team regularly on site and at their own offices.
We negotiated great deals with suppliers across the project, ensuring that quality is upheld and all those connected with the job have pride in their work. We constantly evaluated the work, sometimes reviewing our proposal to achieve better results based on new findings.
The newly restored Tide Mill has now opened, and Spring feel truly privileged to have played a part in this million pound restoration of a historical Suffolk landmark. Why not visit the new Tide Mill website or pop down there and see the results for yourself!