GRADE II LISTED MILL
The client purchased the mill in a dilapidated state as there had been no permanent inhabitation of the building since it stopped working as a functioning mill in the early 20th century. The new owners had a very clear idea of what they wanted and engaged McLaren. Excell to design the renovation, refurbishment, and extension of the building.
EXTENSIVE RESEARCH FOR THIS GRADE II LISTED MILL
The client’s had completed extensive research on the Grade II listed mill and wanted to retain as much of the original building as possible. Preservation was high on the agenda and the designs included many of the original features and mill’s machinery.
Our first challenge was tackling the extensive and well-established water damage suffered over nearly a century of neglect. The mill itself had no foundations, just a stone on each corner and had been built into a bank of earth. Its positioning took advantage of the natural fall of the neighbouring stream and over the years the water had breached the walls. A comprehensive water ingress and damp proofing plan was necessary in the first instance, followed by shoring up the structural integrity of the saturated building before any further work could be done.
RESPECTING LOCAL ECOLOGY
Ironically water still flowed from the stream into the mill, and it was decided not to disturb the ancient water courses and allow this stream of water to enter the building. We managed this with an internal membrane system and concealed drainage. This decision not only meant the mill retained its most iconic natural feature, but that local ecology was not impacted, and the river system was not adversely affected.
RETAINING ICONIC NATURAL FEATURES
McLaren Excell’s approach was of ‘minimal intrusion and materially sensitive interventions. All their design decisions were based on the mill’s industrial origins; simple, humble, and honest. This was practically translated into using and sourcing materials that would retain a real sense of the original building; original brick work, stonework, timbers and steels were used where possible, and our team scoured reclamation yards for matching additional materials. Raw plate steel was chosen by McLaren. Excell as the primary material to work with the mill’s exposed machinery cogs and cast-iron axels.
Architect – McLaren Excel
Photographer – Thomas Seear Budd