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A Tale of Two Mills
A Tale of Two Mills – Spindleston and Waren, 1735 - 1914

In January 2017, Belford Museum (Belford and District Hidden History) was lucky enough to receive support from the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership , which enabled three of their volunteers to pursue research into the origins of Waren and Spindlestone Mills at the National Archives in London. There they were able to go through the papers of Greenwich Hospital, which had been the Mills’ landlords for nearly 150 years, from 1735 to 1872. After four visits and over 1000 document images, as well as further research into the later period at local archives including the Berwick Record Office, they had the material for their book which is published this week - ‘A Tale of Two Mills - Spindleston and Waren 1735-1914’. It describes how:

  • this part of North Northumberland was the scene of a determined and partially successful attempt to industrialise the area 250 years ago;
  • the foremost civil engineer of the day, John Smeaton, created Waren Mill;
  • three entrepreneurial families - the Watsons, the Nairns and the Shorts - contributed to the economy of the area; and
  • the coming of the railways affected the mills.
  • Alongside the story of the changing fortunes of the mill, are accounts of some of the triumphs and tragedies which affected those who lived and worked there.

    This work has been supported by the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership’s Community Archive Project which is run by Berwick Record Office. The partnership has been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Copies of the research images and transcripts will be preserved as part of the ongoing archive of the project.

    The book will be officially launched on 28 November at Bell View Resource Centre,West Street Belford, between 6 and 8 pm. All those interested in the History of the Mills will be most welcome and the book will be available to purchase for £8.00

    For further information, contact Linda Bankier on . Tel : 01289 301865

    For information on the partnership contact Helen Griffiths, Programme Manager on 01668 213086

    Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership

    Background information

    Peregrini is a landscape partnership project made up of community, voluntary and public sector organisations. The project has received £1.37m funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund and is part of their national Landscape Partnership Programme. Partner’s funds and other grants dictate that over the next three years the £1.82milliion project will fund a wide variety of conservation and engagement projects on Holy Island and the adjacent mainland.

    The Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership Scheme is managed by a Partnership of professional and community representatives from Holy Island and surrounding shore side area. The lead organisation for the Scheme is the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, hosted by Northumberland County Council.

    Our vision for the scheme is that; through partnership, Peregrini will protect, restore, enhance and manage this special place as one environment. We will draw upon our community’s close connection to its landscape, seascape, heritage and history to make the area a better place to work, live in and visit. The project will be delivered across a three year period within which a framework will be developed with partners to safeguard the legacy of the PLPS.

    The scheme area is within the north Northumberland coastal plain, a landscape of sandy coastline. The area is rich in biodiversity including five UK priority habitats, very rare plant species, rich wildlife habitats (particularly for migratory and breeding birds) and high geological and geomorphological interest. The distinctive historic heritage of the area reflects both ecclesiastical influences and the strategic defence of coast and border. Cultural heritage is entwined with connections to farming, rural industry; St Aidan, St Cuthbert and the associated monasteries, cells and hermitages; Holy Island’s association with the Golden Age of Northumbria; and the Lindisfarne Gospels most immediately reflected in its name. The scheme name was chosen to remind us of the monks and other devout itinerants who, in search of wilderness and tranquillity, built monasteries and cells on remote islands such as Lindisfarne. These people were known as Peregrini; it gives us the word pilgrim, thousands of whom regularly visit the area today.

    Our six main aims are;

    1.Involve and give people skills to participate fully in the conservation, management, operation and celebration of landscape heritage.

    2.Protect, restore and enhance the landscape, centred on shared inter- tidal waters, bringing the main land and island together within their marine setting.

    3.The links between land, sea and shore, landscapes and historic features are presented and promoted to increase knowledge and assist economic regeneration.

    4.Access to the landscape for recreation and appreciation is enhanced for as wide an audience as possible whilst being sensitive to the pressures this creates.

    5.Weave the various strands of heritage into the creation of one community-led archive and holistic website.

    6.As a Partnership, develop and improve agency working in the area to promote better management of heritage including plans for future management and maintenance of PLLPS sites and assets.

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