Students Staff

08 December 2014

National Trust joining forces with Essex students to bring history of Bourne Mill to life

Anti-cuts demo

David Piper from the National Trust at Bourne Mill

The history of picturesque Bourne Mill in Colchester will be brought to life through a partnership between the National Trust and University of Essex students and graduates thanks to a grant of £20,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Young Roots programme.

From spring 2015 the National Trust will be starting to reconstruct the history of the Grade I listed mill which was originally built as a fishing lodge in the 16th century.

Second year history students at the University of Essex will have the unique opportunity to be involved in this exciting project. They will be taking part in site visits, joining seminars from experts and completing reconstruction activities to support the National Trust’s work to interpret the history and spirit of Bourne Mill. Their own original academic work will also inform the work of the National Trust team.

Meanwhile, student volunteers from the Department of History and the wider University community will also support the project.

Two Essex graduates will be recruited to oversee the project and student involvement. They will also be looking to get local community youth groups and stakeholders involved.

David Piper, National Trust head ranger at Bourne Mill, said: “This project marks the start of a long-term ambition of the Trust’s to really bring Bourne Mill to life once more. It is very exciting to finally see these plans coming to fruition at last. We are very grateful to both the university students and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as without their input we simply wouldn’t be able to make it a reality.”

Professor Alison Rowlands, from the Department of History at the University of Essex, said: “This is a unique chance for our students to work with the National Trust to create a really exciting and engaging experience for visitors to this beautiful site and see how research can be put into action.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is excited to support this partnership between the National Trust and University of Essex working to uncover new information about the role Bourne Mill played in the East Anglian textile industry. The project exemplifies what Young Roots grants are all about - providing young people with the opportunity to shape and deliver an exciting heritage project whilst developing valuable skills and connecting with their local communities along the way.”

New displays and interpretation panels will be developed through the project which will also see the reconstruction of a working replica fulling wheel.

The project has received a £19,900 Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and also support from the Essex Fund – which is made up of contributions from the University’s alumni community.

The National Trust describes Bourne Mill as a “delightful piece of late Elizabethan playfulness”. It was built as a fishing lodge in 1591, converted to a fulling mill around 1640 and then converted to a corn mill in about 1840, which remained active until the 1930s. The Mill still has a working waterwheel and the surrounding grounds include a millpond, babbling stream, wetlands and woods which offer a home to a variety of wildlife including birds, bats, waterfowl, bugs and beetles.

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