A Sad Goodbye

A Sad Goodbye

Today Coldharbour Mill says a sad goodbye to Susan Meads who passed away on 12th July 2020 at the age of 83.

Susan spent over 30 years involved with Coldharbour Mill playing an instrumental part of our Trustee Board from it’s inception. She played a vital role in the transition from a trust to  an incorporated body following the financial crisis of 2008/09 and then again in 2011 and she remained on the Board until 2016.

The Survival of the charity had been in no small part due to Susan’s wealth of experience, skillset and contacts.

Susan had an exceptional whit with a thirst for life which saw her fulfil a lifelong ambition of a World Cruise in her late 70s and she made sure to keep her fellow trustees updated with her escapades by email as she sailed the world.

We are very sad to hear of her passing and will look back with fondness at the care and support she gave to Coldharbour Mill.


Martin Halse – Chief Executive

Important Notice: Continued Closure

Important Notice: Continued Closure

In common with many other museums, visitor attractions and heritage sites the current Pandemic has had a huge impact on life at Coldharbour Mill with the enforced closure hitting just as we were preparing to re-open for our season back in March.

Now that government guidelines have been put in place to allow for the re-opening of organisations such as ours, we are starting the process of preparing for the return of our staff, volunteer teams and visitors. This process is challenging for smaller charities like ourselves and we will need to raise approximately £12,000 to become Covid-19 compliant for visitors. We are also starting to take our first tentative steps to re-engage our volunteer teams.

Volunteers are at the heart of Coldharbour Mill and the work that we do here. They are also vital in running the mill on a day-to-day basis as well as being involved in progressing the many projects which were put on hold due to the pandemic. Some of these are projects which it is important to progress further with before we can allow visitors back as they are pivotal to our visitor offering and are not yet fit for public display.

In light of the current situation, the Trustees and Staff of Coldharbour Mill believe that we need to continue to focus on reintegrating our volunteer teams into the Mill and aim to complete some of the ongoing projects whilst raising funds to enable the safe return of visitors.

The decision has been made not to re-open for the remainder of 2020 as we are beyond halfway through our season, and to come back in a stronger position in 2021. We are aiming to be re-open for Easter 2021.

We want to thank everyone who has supported Coldharbour Mill through this difficult time and we hope that you will all continue to support the Mill into the future.

If you would like to donate to our emergency appeal please visit www.coldharbourmill.org.uk/donate

We hope to see you all at the Mill when we welcome you back in 2021!

Thank you.

Martin Halse. Chief Executive.

Stories of Lockdown Lives

Stories of Lockdown Lives in Uffculme and the surrounding area

We at Coldharbour Mill Museum showcase a huge portion of the rich industrial and social history of the local area over the last 220 years. It inspires the local community, national and international visitors with stories of the regions industrial heritage as well as engaging a large volunteer workforce who continue to create new stories at the Mill every day.

Coldharbour Mill is now looking for our communities’ stories of life during the pandemic and how it has impacted everyone’s lives. We feel as a local depository of history it is important for us to continue to record the lives of people at and around the Mill for posterity.

Our aim is to create an archive of the current times that can live on in the Mill’s history for others to reflect upon in years to come, with a goal of one day creating an exhibition of these stories. Although these times have been extremely hard for a lot of us, many have also found new passions, honed creative skills and already created wonderful pieces of writing, poetry and artwork which we would love to include in this project along with recordings of conversations, written stories, diaries, blogs or local crafts you have created that have significance of these times and you would like to be a part of our shared history.

If you are interested in having your memories, stories, artwork, writing, conversations or poetry included and shared please send us your work for consideration.

You can email digital works and stories to gm@coldharbourmill.org.uk

Or you can post us work to Coldharbour Mill Museum, Uffculme, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 3EE.

Please see our terms & conditions before entering your work.

Thank You to Arts Council England & The National Lottery

Thank You to Arts Council England & The National Lottery

We are pleased to be sending our thanks to Arts Council England and The National Lottery for granting Coldharbour Mill Trust relief funding in light of the current Covid-19 Pandemic.

The Covid-19 crisis hit just as the Mill was planning its re-opening for our season at the end of March – putting a halt on the huge amount of work being undertaken by our staff and volunteers. The Mill is still closed to the public though we may be seeing the light at the distant end of the tunnel.

Arts Council England have granted Coldharbour Mill Trust funding to cover some of the most urgent costs. The funds cover:

  • Redirecting our Business model to take into account the impact of the pandemic
  • Some Staff costs – to protect our small team and ensure we can continue with preservation of Coldharbour Mill
  • Covering some income losses due to the current closure to the public
  • Allowing for new IT equipment to allow safe, remote working

These costs will also allow us to start reengaging our volunteer teams and working on projects like our Mill Pond Restoration (Splash!), which will benefit the Mill in the future. We will also start laying the stepping stones to re-opening to the public and educational groups.

Our aim is to come back from this crisis in the best possible position so that we can push the Mill on to an even more exciting future.


A New General Manager is appointed

Coldharbour Working Wool Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Holdway-Bradley as its new General Manager. Peter comes with a wealth of experience and was most recently Operations Manager at The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton.

Chief Executive Mrtin has said: Despite the challenging times heritage attractions now face, the appointment of a general manager for the first time is a significant step forward for us as a small independent charity and we are delighted that after a tough recruitment process Peter is joining the small and dynamic team.

Coldharbour Mill Museum has been in continuous wool production since 1797 and today over 100 volunteers commit over 28,000 hours a year to the factory, museum, shop, café, steam engines, administration, grounds and maintenance. Listed by Historic England as “the best preserved complete complex of mill buildings in the country”, we are committed to continuing to educate and inspire visitors, whilst preserving this unique site in Uffculme.

Peter Holdway-Bradley said: I am very excited to be joining the team at Coldharbour Mill to help continue the excellent work being done by the passionate team of staff and volunteers. With a history of work within the heritage, arts and charity sectors, I am eagerly anticipating getting stuck into developing the mill to achieve greatness. With my previous experience working within a heritage setting I understand the vital role these venues play and champion the need to restore, support and maintain these beacons of history. I also understand the challenges that these buildings face and the pressures and pitfalls that need to be overcome to progress these mainly volunteer sustained operations.

Having also worked within Theatre and the Arts, I feel building the repertoire of events that could be held at the Mill could be a great way to attract new audiences, increase income and also encourage further community and volunteer engagement within the Mill and its connected projects.

Coldharbour Mill brings the past to life by showing the key part it played in the industrial revolution within the Southwest but I think it can be much more. I feel it can truly play a key part in the current community while attracting a whole host of visitors, educating people of all ages about the mill’s rich history.

With the fantastic projects the team has already been working on like the sensory garden and Mill Pond restoration, I am sure that the Mill will continue to educate, inspire and attract huge community and visitor engagement over the years to come and I am ready to play my part.

Show your support for Mill Pond.

Sign our campaign to support our funding bid!

We are now seeking funds for the next stage of the Mill Pond project – and increasing the area that is free for the community to enjoy and further increase the biodiversity of the area.

We are committed to the restoration of the mill pond area, creating a unique historical resource and bio-diversity project that is free at the point of use for locals, visitors, community groups, schools and other educational establishments whilst at the same time engendering community involvement in its development and sustainability.

Phase 1 has now been completed, thanks to the hard work of volunteers, staff, wildlife experts and our generous funders and the Mill Pond is now home to over 400 native trees and increased biodiversity. For the Mill, the increased water flow has led to our sluices being cleared and we are close to running the Mill using the original water supply.

We are keen to continue with this project and restore it to its former glory. We are currently seeking funding from local company Viridor Credits to continue this project and are seeking your support. Show your support for our application for grant application to Viridor Credits and sign below.


Sensory Garden

Running along the leat by the car park, is our new sensory garden. Created with help from Tesco’s ‘bags of help’ and paving specialists MatsGrids it is the perfect place to spend some time enjoying the Mill’s grounds and stimulating the senses.

The aim of the garden is to create a stimulating and sensory space that could be enjoyed by all visitors to the Mill. Designed by one of the Mill’s volunteers, the plans accommodate grass and stone paving suitable for wheelchair users together with a wide range of planting that are specifically accessible for visitors with visual or physical impairments, dementia and wheelchair users.

The design incorporates a raised oval central bed as well as surrounding areas packed with plants for sound, sight, feel and smell. All of which are accessible by wheelchair users and pushchairs. Central to the design is an oval bed which takes visitors on a circular route around the garden for ease of access and exit.

With the plan in place our volunteers created the sensory garden, initially clearing and levelling the ground, before building the raised beds and installing the pathways. After research the team chose MatsGrids x-grid® which was not only easy to install but allows all year access even when filled with plants or gravel. With this in place, wooden features made from Mill trees and the planting was completed which is now maturing for all year interest.

The sensory garden can now be enjoyed without entrance to the Mill.

Matsgrids suppliers of ground reinforcement grids and grass protection meshes for use in all industrial development projects.

Spring Lambs Craft Club

In partnership with Age UK Mid Devon, this is part of a national campaign to combat isolation and loneliness in the older generation. Our Club is supported by Kingswood Pre-school who join us every Tuesday, 10-11am to share in making crafts.

The club is open to Over 50’s and under 8’s and is Free.

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.