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Visitors are flocking to the newly restored Hessle Mill

Date
Wed, 18 Aug 2021
Article

The newly restored and reopened Hessle Mill in the Humber Bridge Country Park is proving a big draw for visitors, with over 200 attending on just one day recently.

The Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Councillor Nigel Wilkinson, also recently visited the new attraction with his wife, Caroline.

And the attraction is now being promoted with a brand new video on the East Riding Libraries, Museums and Archives You Tube channel.

Fully refurbished and with original machinery and new displays, the mill is open to visitors on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm (closed 1 hour for lunch 12-1pm).

Visitors can explore inside the mill's tower on five levels and see the crushing gear which ground chalk from the quarry. They learn how the mill worked and how whiting was made and 'meet' the mill's Victorian owner and the Edwardian wife of a quarryman.

Thirty visitors are allowed in at any one time across the different levels of the mill. There is no need to book in advance. Visitors are encouraged to wear face coverings.

The refurbishment of the Humber Foreshore's Hessle Mill shows a rare example of an early nineteenth century whiting mill that once ground chalk from the nearby quarry.

A £724,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund funded most of the £968,869 project, with the council covering the remainder of the costs.

The mill forms part of 'The Chalk Walk' heritage trail, which follows a path through the oldest area of the quarry, continuing inside the mill's tower.

Dr Alex Ombler, project officer, said : "The exterior of the mill features a new stepped plaza area and mill stone seating, as well as relevant interpretation panels, lighting and benches. The mill is fully interpreted inside and includes a display screen with media footage."

A visit to Hessle Mill could be included as part of the countryside events programme on offer this summer; details are at https://www.eastridingculture.co.uk/whats-on/

Unlike the windmill at Skidby, which ground corn and wheat to make flour, Hessle Mill was an industrial 'whiting windmill' designed to crush chalk  from the nearby quarry  that  now forms the Humber Bridge Country Park.  The exact date of the mill's construction is not known, but based on the design of the tower and the cap and sails (which were removed in 1925) it was likely built sometime between 1810 and 1815, when it replaced an earlier horse-powered mill. The crushed chalk was used to manufacture a purified powered form of chalk called whiting. During the nineteenth century this was mainly used as a filler in paint or mixed with linseed oil to make putty; later it was used more extensively in the production of rubber, paint and plastics.

Chalk extraction stopped in 1970 and the wider quarry area returned to nature. The construction and opening of the Humber Bridge in 1981 brought a new focus to the site, which had been purchased by Humberside County Council during the previous decade. In 1982 the whiting mill acquired grade II listed status and four years later the Humber Bridge Country Park was opened by the local council as an attraction for the thousands who visited the area. In 2002 the Country Park was also designated a local nature reserve due to its wildlife value and importance to the local community.

Full details of Hessle Mill and the Chalk Walk Trail can be found at : www.quarrytocountrypark.co.uk

To see more of Hessle Mill and meet some of the characters from its history, watch this brand new video on the Libraries, Museums and Archives YouTube Channel :  https://youtu.be/FrACufU4FLI

 

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