Retort & Economiser House’s Restoration Project Report

Early 2018 saw the charity decide to restore the fabric of two buildings within the Mill’s estate, The Economiser House, and early form of heat exchanger, and the Retort House, the old gas works at the mill. The project was designed to restore the fabric of both buildings, which were in a bad state of repair at a total cost of £57,000.

The Economiser House is one of only three intact in the UK, and is believed to be the only working example left, a new glass floor is also being installed so visitors can see the pit and baffles under the Economiser with LED architectural lighting, and the internal workings are now on display through a glass inspection area which again is lit with LED lighting. The Economiser will be operated on days
when the mill is under steam, but will also be an additional exhibit for visitors generally as well as being an important part of the development of efficient energy systems that can be studied by schools.

Funding was received from 7 funders including Viridor Credits, Entrust, The Association of Industrial Archaeology, The Elmgrant Trust and The Hobson Charity, with Viridor Credits and The Association of Industrial Archaeology being the main funders.

Works to the Retort House, included resetting the louver roof tiles, rebuilding parts of exterior walls, pinning the stone walling on the north side of the building, alongside restoration of doors and windows and the installation of new guttering and drainage.

Works to the Economiser House included a new roof, repointing of the masonry, the restoration of doors and windows, the installation of a glass viewing panel and glass floor, during the course of the project it was found that the rear wall was not attached to the rest of the building and this added further costs of £550 to the project, also discovered was an amount of Asbestos which added another £650 of costs.
The Mill appointed Devon York as the main contractor and MRH MS Ltd to manage the project, further specialists James Spencer Heritage Carpenters were appointed to manage the restoration of four doors and three windows in both buildings. Volunteers carried out the installation of general lighting and LED
architectural lighting, alongside the restoration of the Economiser itself, interpretation panels are being designed in house.


Restoration Work Begins

Works have begun on the restoration of our Economiser house (earliest form of heat exchanger) and the Retort house which produced gas to light the mill and transformed working at the mill in the mid Victorian period. This allowed production to carry on beyond daylight hours. The gas retort also supplied local cottages in the hamlet of Coldharbour.

Our thanks goes to a number of donors for this project: Viridor Credits Environmental Company, The Hobson Charity, Association for Industrial Archaeology, match funding by a private donor and Viscount Amory Charitable Trust.

 

 


Childrens Fun and Steam Day

Join us for a day of family fun. Celebrate our new outdoor play & picnic area, Victorian Dressing Up Area and entertain the children with demonstrations, crafts and activities. The Sheep Trail will be out helping to explore the Mill (and there will be prizes for every complete trail). The Steam Team will also be on hand fueling the boilers and breathing life into the Mill engines. See if you can spot the smoke from the chimney across the valley and village! Open from 10.30 – 4pm.


Ambitious New Volunteering Programe Launched

We have today launched an ambitious new volunteering programe to celebrate National Volunteering week (1st to 7th June).

 

Our plan is to create 33,000 hours of volunteering opportunities, where volunteers can come and learn within the Mill environment – ensuring skills developed during the industrial revolution are shared with and for future generations. With its steam engines, water wheel and industrial heritage its not hard to see how this can be achieved,  volunteers can learn how to spin wool, weave and run the engines which will guarantee that this knowledge is passed on to the next generation. Did you know when working the residual heat from the boilers meant that Coldharbour Mill also heated glass houses containing tomatoes and soft fruit and this important piece of social history forms the unique character of Coldharbour Mill.

The Mill of today offers so much more – with opportunities being created for administration, retailing, marketing, event organisation, curating, tour guides and project management as the charity preserves the Mill. Skills which can be used in the wider community.

Martin Halse our CEO of Coldharbour Mill is spearheading this project and is keen to explain “with its diverse heritage, these new opportunities being created are set to promote life-long learning for all our volunteers and the chance for them to share this knowledge with the next generation to preserve traditional skills and keep the industrial revolution alive for future generations”

Ben Fox our Volunteer co-ordinator expands saying “we are a friendly team – and volunteering is a great way to learn and share skills as well as the chance to meet new friends. You don’t have to commit every week, and even if you are only able to offer a few hours we would love to hear from you.”

If you would like more information on how to become a volunteer or join us at one of our volunteer drop in sessions or contact Ben Fox – volunteering@coldharbourmill.org.uk or call 01884 840 960


Become a Member

We are delighted to announce our new membership scheme and is the perfect way of showing your support in preserving the Mill for future generations.

Prices for an adult membership start at just £28 and gives unlimited standard entry to the Mill and other benefits.

Show your support and join the Mill!

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