In 1991 the local district council announced plans to demolish the Mill. A thousand years of milling history was about to come to an end.
But a group of local residents quickly came together to oppose the council’s plans. They formed the Town Mill Trust and raised over £500,000 to finance this brave undertaking, and get the wheels turning once again. First came the outbuildings, restored as a café, galleries and artisan workshops. Then the structure of The Town Mill itself was brought back to life. Bit by bit the machinery was refurbished and in 1997 a salvaged waterwheel was hoisted into place.
On 26th May 2001, after a lengthy project and a massive community effort, the novelist John Fowles formally opened the restored Town Mill to the public and flour was milled for the first time in seventy-five years. Today, the story of the restoration is recounted by the working volunteer millers to all who visit and gives us a sense of our shared heritage.
The Malthouse had long been part of the milling scene at The Town Mill, and produced malt until around 1830. Then the building was sold and used for generating electricity.
Following grant funding and generous individual contributions, the Town Mill Trust was able to purchase the disused Malthouse. It was restored as a gallery and community space and reinstated as part of The Town Mill complex in 2010.
Today’s mill is a result of what a group of concerned and dedicated volunteers can do when they join together to preserve and enhance something special in their community, and open it up to the wider world.