Last week, Penrith and The Border MP​ Rory Stewart paid a visit to two of Warwick Bridge’s heritage assets; Warwick Bridge Corn Mill, and Our Lady and St Wilfrid’s Church​.Rory was accompanied to the Corn Mill by local residents, including Councillors Doreen Parsons and Marilyn Bowman, and met with representatives from Historic England and the North of England Civic Trust​.The Grade II* listed ​mill was built in 1839 for the Corby Castle Estate and extended during the 19th century. It has been water powered throughout its working life, producing animal feed into the 1980​’​s.

​ ​Since falling into disuse the building has been a concern for Carlisle City Council and Historic England. Options for conversion were explored, but they were limited by the historically important mill machinery, so the building was then​ added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 2000​,​​ and ​subsequently ​acquired by the North of England Civic Trust (NECT) in 2015 with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). It is proposed that the mill complex will house an artisan bakery and provide craft skills training facilities.

Following acquisition by NECT, Historic England grant aided a project to address the most urgent repair works prior to the main repair and conversion scheme. This was carried out in 2016 and concentrated on the Drying Room and the former Miller’s House.

​ The repairs focused on roof structures and coverings, rainwater goods and associated masonry repairs. The work cost £206,000, to which Historic England contributed £175,000​, and t​he project was essential to stabilise the most threatened elements of the complex, ​while the larger HLF funded scheme was being developed.

Rory was then given a tour of Our Lady and St Wilfrid’s Church​ by Don Austin, who talked about the building’s rich history, and the restoration work which is planned for the building should the project be successful in obtaining HLF funding.

Designed by celebrated English  Architect, ​Augustus Pugin ​- who also designed the interior of the Palace of Westminster – and completed in 1841, the building includes some impressive stain glass windows by renowned craftsman John Hardman​, who created stain glass windows for churches and cathedrals all over the world.

Catherine Dewar, Planning Director at Historic England said: ‘We’re thrilled that this wonderful building will be brought back into use and are really excited by the Trust’s plans.  The repairs that we have helped to fund are a big step towards giving the building a new life and have stopped further decay of the building for now.  There is of course further work to be carried out and more fundraising to be done by the Trust and they are keen to hear from anyone with memories of the building in use.’

After the visits Rory said: ‘Warwick Bridge has an incredibly rich heritage. The people and the stories behind these buildings are a fascinating part of our cultural history, and it is right that they are restored and cared for, so that future generations can enjoy and learn about them for many years to come. I am deeply supportive of these restoration project​s​​, and will be watching how they progress.’

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