A historic water-mill which is usually run as a museum in Dorset, England has started producing flour on a commercial scale to meet increased demand during the coronavirus lockdown.
Sturminster Newton Mill was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. today the picturesque building on the banks of the River Stour is a small museum attracting tourists.
But with the museum closed due to the current lockdown in the United Kingdom, the mill which usually produces a small quantity of flour to demonstrate the process to tourists and sell to visitors and moved into commercial production.
In just 10 days millers Pete Loosmore and Imogen Bittner have already produced 200 bags of flour weighing 3.3lbs to local grocers and bakers.
This is usually a year’s supply for the Mill.
Mrs Bittner said: “We were due to open on March 28 and had already bought our grain for the season.
“Without visitors, we’ll be taking quite a hit but this will help to make up for a bit of the lost income.
“We’re only doing this while the crisis lasts and it’s not only helping us but the local community because there is a shortage of flour.
“In one way we have an advantage over the bigger mills, which are used to selling large sacks to the wholesale trade and don’t have the machinery or manpower to put the flour into small bags.”
Small museums which rely on income from visitors to survive are particularly at risk because of the coronavirus lockdown. The entrepreneurial thinking at Sturminster Newton Mill means that this museum will be there to welcome visitors once the current crisis ends.