Restoration – Part 2: Inheritance

Dalgarven Mill finally closed in 1972 and lay empty for twelve years, at the mercy of the weather. As Listed Buildings, they were protected from demolition but not from wet rot, dry rot, woodworm and rising damp.

When Rob and Moira Ferguson were gifted them in 1983, they were in a very sad condition: some roofs had collapsed, the wheel was derelict, and floors and structural beams were collapsing. The main stonework was however sound, and the architect and his wife resolved to try and restore it all, and preserve it for future generations.


The agricultural buildings dating from the 1750s in an advanced state of delapidation.


A view of the Mill showing the large granary block at the rear: the already crushed wheel is to the left of the chimney.


The ground floor of the Mill proper showing the remains of what was once machinery for making flour and oatmeal.


Sadly, having been empty for 12 years, the flooring in almost every area was largely destroyed by woodworm and damp.


In the Mill tower, the spaces were filled with the debris of hastily removed timber vats for the grain.


The interior of the farm buildings showing the condition of the roof which almost ended the project before it began!


Rob Ferguson holding the unopened letter which
offered the possibility of an MSC project.


A few moments after the photograph above, the roof made a democratic decision and collapsed on Rob
and his teenage son Gavin! Luckily they escaped either death or injury!

Interestingly, we are sitting in this space now called the Studio! But then the ground floor of the kiln used for drying the grain.  The three forty-foot elm trees presented a considerable problem but were gently shaken free of the building because their roots had not penetrated the unseen brick floor below.  As in many occasions, the free use of Ryeside engineering’s travelling crane which gently shook them until they gave up their grip.

More information in Rob Ferguson’s book ‘A Miller’s Tale‘, which can be purchased in the Mill or by mail order: please email admin@dalgarvenmill.org.uk (online purchasing available soon).

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