Scheme to restore iconic mills welcomes first new apprentices

The Broads Authority welcomes new recruits to a brand new apprenticeship scheme to learn the vital skills needed to restore the iconic drainage mills of the Broads National Park.

brandon and tom water mills and marshes apprentices

Bricklaying, carpentry and joinery might not be professions you would immediately associate with the Broads National Park but they are the essential trades required to restore iconic mills, as part of the Broads Authority’s Water, Mills and Marshes programme, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Starting on the newly-created Heritage Skills Apprenticeships, supported by City College Norwich, are Brandon Jarvis (Bricklayer) and Tom Allen (Carpentry & Joinery), who are taking part in restoration work at Strumpshaw Steam Engine House, Muttons, Herringfleet and Six Mile House drainage mills.

The marsh mills of the Broads National Park are a precious cultural resource; the park has the greatest concentration of standing drainage mills in Europe, 13 scheduled monuments, 25 heritage conservation areas and over 250 listed buildings. 

A lack of traditional building craft and mill-wrighting skills means that the future of these iconic structures is under threat. Many are in urgent need of restoration within the next 10 years or they face being lost forever.

Through the heritage skills apprentice scheme, the Broads Authority is helping to keep these traditional skills alive and train the next generation of professional craftspeople the region desperately needs.

six mile house drainage mill by julian claxton

These iconic mills chart centuries of human effort across the Broads National Park area to convert waterlogged, wetland environment into a productive agricultural landscape. The highly engineered flood-banks, dyke networks, mills and pumps tell the story of a true cultural landscape in transition from predominantly agriculture to more recently, nature conservation and tourism.

Water Mills and Marshes Project Manager, Will Burchnall, welcomed the new recruits and said:

“It is very exciting to be able to employ two heritage skills apprentices. Heritage restoration work is very different to the hustle of modern construction. 

“Brandon and Tom have already impressed us on-site with their attitude and desire to work hard. They have great potential to become the heritage restoration specialists of the future.”

The Broads Authority wishes its new apprentices a wonderful two years of learning.

Monday 4 November 2019