1,000-year-old mill provides flour during coronavirus lockdown

Since resuming full production in April, over 2,200 pounds of flour has been produced.

By Aaron Sull World Israel News

With flour shortages running low, a 1,000-year-old water mill in Southern England has started producing flour on a commercial scale to meet the increased demand.

The existence of the Sturminster Newton Mill, lying on the banks of the River Stour in North Dorset, dates back to 1016 where it is mentioned in the Doomsday Book, a survey commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086 to assess England’s resources for tax purposes.

The mill was upgraded during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in 1566 and still again in 1904.

The fully operational mill was converted into a museum in 1994 after being shut down in 1970.

Peter Loosmore, a lead operator of the mill-turned-museum, knew that something needed to be done after the country went into lockdown.

“When COVID-19 struck, all of the local shops ran out of flour very quickly,” the 79-year-old told The Washington Post. “We had a stock of good-quality milling wheat and the means and skills to grind it into flour, so we thought we could help.”

Normally during museum hours, the mill produces small souvenir bags of flour for its visitors, but since resuming full production in April over 2,200 pounds of flour has been produced.

“We have got through the whole of that ton in two to three weeks and we’re still chasing more and more grain,” Loosmore told the Post. “It’s been nice to bring the place truly back to life and back into something like it used to be when it was working six days a week.”

The three-pound flour bags are sold at cost to local grocers and bakers, who in turn either sell or donate them to those in need.