Museum shares history of mill and its owners

Waren Mill as a working mill.
Waren Mill as a working mill.

Waren Mill and Budle, both of which have long and fascinating histories, are the focus of the current exhibition at the museum in Belford.

The village’s Hidden History Museum, which is again taking part in Heritage Open Days from today until Sunday, takes the opportunity every year to mount a display of special interest to the area.

The millworkers when it was owned by H O Short and Son.

The millworkers when it was owned by H O Short and Son.

Waren Mill was constructed to the plans of the finest civil engineer of the day, John Smeaton, and was considered to be his masterpiece, incorporating an ingenious system for bringing the corn to the mill and taking the flour away.

Despite being successful, there were many trials and tribulations that threatened the future of the building.

In 1821, Waren and Spindlestone Mills were leased to Philip Nairn and Sons, a Newcastle firm of ship owners and corn importers.

They imported into Waren a large range of goods, trading nationally and internationally, even as far as Havana.

Whinstone from the Spindlestone quarry was shipped to London for paving.

The Nairns expanded their business, opening the Belford tile and brick works and developing the lime kilns at Seahouses.

At Waren, an extra floor was added to the mill and an additional bone crushing mill was built, to provide bone meal fertiliser for the farmers.

The water supply for the mill could be unreliable, so the dam was renewed above the aqueduct to improve the flow of water and, in 1829, a steam engine was installed to drive the machinery in times of drought.