Room with a view

Seriously how many people can look out of their window at work and see this?

Tranquility in the wonderful Northumberland country side, warm cheese scones and fresh coffee. Yup Folks, this is seriously work. Honest.

One door closes yet another opens

The end of an era at Otterburn Mill

The End of an Era

Many of the Mills were privately owned, like Otterburn Mill and, during the second world war, substantial profits were made.

After the war, engineering materials were in short supply. Resulting in a lack of investment in modern textile machinery and systems until the late 60’s/early 70’s. By then, the investment required was too large for many companies to afford.

This general lack of investment allowed world wide competition to overtake the UK woollen trade. Although rearguard action was taken by some textile companies through amalgamation, the lack of marketing and capital investment took their toll.

The Mill at Otterburn suffered from a lack of investment. It had to close manufacturing in December 1976.

The machinery lay idle until John Waddell sold the business and premises to Euan Pringle. A member of yet another famous family of Scottish woollen manufacturers, in 1995. Since that time, the site has undergone a substantial period of redevelopment to produce the facilities you see today.

The Mills archieve

Not many have heard of the Mills Archieve but they aim to preserve and protect records of our milling heritage, to make them freely available to the public. There purpose is to become the national centre of excellence for learning, understanding and research on mills, milling and the historic uses of traditional power sources.


seek and acquire historical and contemporary records of mills and milling;
store, care for and keep together collections placed in our care;
encourage research into our milling heritage;
make as much of our material as possible available for public inspection;
provide facilities for research and education at the Archive and on the Internet;
offer advice and support to collectors, promoting future deposits;
build close links with existing organisations holding mill material, with a view to sharing information and possibly resources;
actively encourage an interest in mills by developing and promoting education and information programmes based on local communities and on the need for lifelong learning.

There worth a look

The end of an era
New opportunities can be tinged with anticipation and sadness as one chapter draw to a close.
Posted in News

Rio Ready? The Start of Rio Olympics 2016……….

Rio Olympics 2016

Rio Ready? The Start of Rio 2016……….

Well, maybe not quite. It takes me all of my resolve to get out for my morning run, never mind the commitment of the athletes involved in Rio 2016. You can’t really escape the media coverage of the Olympics and it kinda got me thinking of things. I was wondering to myself where and what the five rings of the Olympics were all about? So a little on-line research brought up the following. (This is the short answer!).

The five rings represent the flags of the majority of countries that participate in the Olympic events. Blue, yellow, black, green and red, as well as the white in the background. These colours were found in the majority of the nations’ flags.

Designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, it was initially delayed from becoming the official symbol of the Olympics by the beginning of World War I. Finally debuted in the 1920 Summer Olympics, the rings commonly symbolize wholeness and continuity, combined together to indicate peace and fraternity. Up until 1951, the official International Olympic Committee handbook stated that the five rings represented the major regions of the world.

So there you go, you may have learnt something today.

Want to learn more?

The Rio 2016 Olympic games has it’s own site as you would imagine so you can learn more

What is a Cornish Boiler?

Unfortunately it’s not something tasty and wrapped in pastry, but it is a throwback to our milling days. Although not operational the coal fired boiler was used to produce steam to heat water for washing the textiles and wool. The boiler worked on a water jacket principle with a maximum working pressure of 50lbs/

In the first half of the 20th century tramps regularly s beside the boiler for warmth.


Fun in the sun

Well, it was dry anyhow, the gods shined on us at our family fun weekend.

The BBQ was fired up and the burgers were in full flow, we were pleased to welcome visitors to the mill this weekend for family fun in support of Northumbria Blood Bikes.

A big thank you to Alex from Creepy Crawly roadshow, and the Kielder Birds of Prey guys who helped to make things a success. The three week old baby barn owls went down a treat and were just about opening their eyes.

We welcomed Scout the Olivehouse snake and a fine selection of giant snails and cochroaches!!


Joules Autumn 16 on it’s way

We know how popular Joules are and every year we rush to get it on-line and in store for you as soon as possible. Who could fail to adore that heady mix of colour and style mixed with practicality, style and grace. So, as we head into the darker cooler months don’t worry help is at hand to make things a little cheery.

So what are you waiting for, dive in

Family Fun Weekend

Pack up the kids and the old folks and come and join us for a family fun weekend on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July. 10am – 4pm.

We’re firing up the BBQ – and coming up with some fabulous burger recipes, which we have the joy of sampling!. There is plenty to do from the Otterburn Nature trail, outdoor picnic area, Birds of Prey, kids activities, kids playarea, café and shop.

Help us raise funds for Northumbria Blood Bikes a totally voluntary service which provide an essential service during out of hours.