Monday, 28 May 2018

National mills weekend success and new millstones

We had a fantastic weekend for National Mills weekend, with 628 visitors helping us to smash our original (challenging!) target of 500. We collected stamps from visitors on a picture of the mill to show how many people had been and by the end we had to put them all around the edge! Over 20 volunteers helped to make the weekend happen and we're really grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for making the event and the project possible.

The project is coming to an end now, so we're working on evaluation and the last few school and community groups. Work on the mill continues and we have just welcomed the second of our two new millstones, so watch this space for more information as we repair the tun, work on the brake wheel and the great spur wheel and then turn to the challenge of restoring our external drive.  

Sunday, 13 May 2018

National Mills Weekend: Day One

This year we are having a big event for National Mills weekend because it's part of the Mill For All Seasons project. Highlights of the first day of the event yesterday included:
 Cake! Although entry is free all weekend, we had a cake stall from the co-op and lots of contributions from our talented volunteers. Fundraising isn't the point of this event but a bit of extra money is never a problem...
Welcoming 208 visitors in a day, which is technically not quite on track for our target of 500 in a weekend but is a definite record for national mills weekend and absolutely stupendous for a day when we only had an hour without rain.
It was great to see so many local people visiting the mill for the first time, which is what this project and National Mills weekend are all about. Full report of both days later in the week, but now we have to get on with day 2!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Mill for All Seasons Project update

We're nearing the end of the Mill for All Seasons project, so here is the latest version of what we've been doing for the past few months:

June 2017

·         Local groups contacted about outreach, school visits and community exhibition

·         Advertising in place for new volunteers

·         1 new windmill volunteer recruited

July 2017

·         Outreach sessions: Carers group, Scouts and Beavers, Swavesey WI

·         Press release sent out and interview with Radio Cambridgeshire


August 2017

·         Carers’ drop in session at the museum

·         Day centre outreach talk

·         Windmill box created for use in handling talks and with special school pupils


September 2017

·         Mill workshop for volunteers

·         Visit from Burwell Early Learners

·         Talks for public at Fen Edge Harvest Fair event

·         Top millstone removed in preparation for being replaced

October 2017

·         Burwell brownies outreach and craft session

·         CPD session with teachers from Burwell Village College

·         U3A group visit

November 2017

·         Tractor refurbished and ready to run

·         Two volunteers to a workshop at the National Mills Archive

·         Engage outreach group at library

·         Colourbox nursery visit

·         Burwell village college visit

·         Millwright dressing bedstone

·         Sensory box session with Castle School

December 2017

·         A5 Learning pack prepared and printed  
·         Talk to Soham Library Engage group


January 2018

·         Talk to Top Time group at Newmarket Library 11 Jan

·         First new Millstone arrives

February 2018

·         First draft of exhibition written

·         Visit from Great Wilbraham School 9 Feb

·         Visit from Castle School 19 Feb

March 2018

·         Interim report written

·         Talk at Mildenhall Library 8 Mar

·         Talk at Ely Library 13 Mar

·         Visit from Stretham Primary School 15 Mar

·         Ely local history festival

·         Exhibition opens at Burwell at Large

·         Exhibition to Burwell Library

April 2018

·         Exhibition in Newmarket Library

·         2 new windmill volunteers recruited

·         History Society talk 18 April

·         Visit from Castle School 23 April

·         Visit from Mepal and Witcham School 27 April

May 2018

·         Stall at Reach Fair
·         Talk to Burwell Day Centre


Still to come:

·         Community open weekend

·         Visit from Morley Memorial school

·         Visit from Cambridge Home Educating Families

·         Visit from Burwell Guides

·         Visit from Burwell Rainbows

·         Visit from Stetchworth WI

·         Visit from Castle School

·         Late opening for the festival on 14th June

·         Burwell Carnival

·         Visit from Newmarket Sunshine Group

·         Visit from Burwell Beavers and Scouts

·         Visit from Year 1 at Burwell Village College


Many thanks to everyone who has been involved in the project –it’s being a great year!

Monday, 12 March 2018

200 Years of Stevens' Mill exhibition - we need your help!

The new bedstone is now in its place, and mill volunteers are concentrating on making sure that the mill is safe for visitors when we re-open on the 1st and 2nd of April for our "Easter Egg Hunt" event.
We are also preparing to celebrate the bicentenary of Stevens’ Mill in 2020 with a community exhibition, which launches at “Burwell at Large” this weekend.

The exhibition will be launched on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th March at the “Burwell at Large” event, a showcase for all of the fantastic community groups which are active in the village. But the panels which go on display won’t be finished, because the aim of the exhibition is to get people talking to each other and to the museum about their own experience of the Mill. We hope that the community groups which have been involved in the project and visitors who see the exhibition will contribute their own information. After Burwell at Large the exhibition will be at:

Burwell Library 20 March to 1 April

Newmarket Library  3-14 April

The mill itself for National Mills Weekend 12-13 May – come and enjoy free entry and a whole weekend of activities to celebrate the “Mill for All Seasons” project!

If you would like to know more about the project and/or be involved in it, please contact the museum at

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Our new bedstone has arrived!

Burwell Museum has reached a key point in its project to upgrade Burwells last remaining windmill, thanks to funding raised by National Lottery players
Stevens Mill, an icon of the East Cambridgeshire landscape, is a fully-working tower windmill and one of the most popular visitor attractions at Burwell Museum. Volunteers and staff at the Museum are celebrating today after welcoming a new arrival a 1-ton millstone which will form a key part of the ongoing Mill for All Seasons project, supported by funding from the National Lottery.
The stone is the first of a pair and has spent several months being rebuilt and dressed prepared for use by a trained millwright. It was settled into its new place by winching it up to the first floor, then very carefully lowering it over its drive spindle and fitting wedges underneath to ensure it is perfectly level. The second stone will be placed on top of this one once it has been restored and dressed.
Saved from demolition in the 1970s by a group of like-minded individuals, the mill has undergone extensive restoration over the years to bring it back to working order. Today, visitors can take a tour of the four-storey mill and see how flour is made. However, being so heavily reliant on the right weather conditions means that the mill cannot always be operated.
To enable the mill to run in all weathers and in any season just as it would have done in the early 20th century under its last owners, the Stevens brothers Burwell Museum Trust is restoring the mills external drive system and renovating a 1950s tractor to run it. It is hoped that the new stone and its partner will soon be balanced and ready to run, first by wind power when the wind is right and then via the external drive system whenever they are required.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the £19,400 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is a real boon for the museum as it works to build interest in the mills 200th anniversary in 2020. Colin Marshall, Mill Team Manager, says This will be an important step in restoring the mill to its 1950s function. Having an engine-driven stone will allow us to teach more volunteers how to mill and to demonstrate milling more often to visitors.
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, were pleased to support the restoration of Burwells last surviving mill.  This project is enabling people of all ages to get involved from local residents adding their own voices to the interpretation to a new generation discovering this part of their communitys heritage for the first time.
If you would like to admire the new millstone, the museum will open to the public again on Easter Sunday and bank holiday Monday. It is then open on Thursdays, Sundays and bank holidays until the end of October. The Mill for All Seasons project will be celebrated at a free weekend event for National Mills Weekend on the 12th and 13th of May. If you would like to know more about the project and/or be involved in it, please contact the museum at