In the spring of 1985, Rob and Moira Ferguson were awarded a Manpower Services Commission contract to restore the Mill: two site supervisors, a historian, a costume conservator, four research assistants, fourteen tradesmen and twenty-four labourers joined Rob as architect, Moira as administrator and Gavin, their son, as miller-elect on site. MSC paid the wages and the Fergusons paid for all equipment and building materials.
The family home became the building site it was to remain for the next two years.
We bought two demolished stone tenements, expecting to use the stone for building repairs, but then the river joined in.
At this point we had the worst flood in a century, and much damage was done. The stone was hastily used to build a flood defence
which you can see at the end of the car park.
Under the green tarpaulin are the cast iron mill parts which we brought from Lindean Mill in the Borders: this was our
ultimate challenge to the workforce.
In the middle distance you can see the almost completed flood bund. The debate about demolishing the chimney raged on:
we won in the end.
So far we have discussed the work outside, but inside the word was also in full flow. Visitors can note the height of the plate
on the column shown: we have raised this floor more than a metre to connect the Mill tower with the coffee room (back of this photo).
Next blog post: Restoration
More information in Rob Ferguson’s book ‘A Miller’s Tale‘, which can be purchased in the Mill or by mail order: please email email@example.com (online purchasing available soon).