WARWICK BRIDGE CORN MILL, CARLISLE, CUMBRIA
Use can be the preserver of history; this mill has a recorded line of production on site from 1169 right up to 1989, but following the death of its miller the future looked bleak. In a £2 million lifeline project supported with substantial grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, Architectural Heritage Fund and a range of other supporters, Cultura restored this distinctive Cumbrian cornmill back to full working order, adding a new craft bakery. Following a successful social investment share issue, a new community benefit society has been established to run the mill with partner Breadshare. The miller, Karen Mason, has been involved throughout the restoration and now uses the Victorian millstones to produce flour using locally-sourced grains, and enjoys sharing her knowledge and giving demonstrations to visitors. The mill is now operating once again at the heart of this community but, like all machines, it needs tending, and so there will always be opportunities for volunteers and trainees drawn in by the rumble of the wheel and gears or the smell of freshly baked breads. Cultura’s holistic approach to the project earned it a place in the Council of Europe’s Strategy 21 good practice guide as a case study.