Setting Up House in a Watermill
For months Mr Noel Hutchinson, 27, a York architect and his wife, Hilary, 27, seached for a windmill to convert into a home. Now, after paying a farmer £1,500 for a 150 year old mill at Stillington 12 miles north of York on the Helmsley Road it will cost them a furthre £3,000 for the conversion.
For nearly six years the couple have lived in a semi detatched bungalow in Fern Close, Huntington, York. Mr Hutchinson said yesterday, 'We hope to move in this Summer although the conversion will not be finished then.'
'We have always wanted to live somewhere out of the ordinary and as an architect I'm interested in the conversion of old buildings. We couldn't find a windmill with any amenities within a reasonable distance of York.'
'There is one at Appleton Roebuck but it is miles from anywhere. The watermill has water and electricity laid on and drainage and we are installing oil fired central heating. '
The Hutchinsons plan to retain the waterwheel, 18 feet in diameter, on the outside of the building. Visitors entering by the front door will be confronted by two giant gear wheels part of the grinding machinery.
'We want to light them up to give a dramatic effect to people entering the house,' Mr Hutchinson added.
The whole first floor will serve as a living/dining room; one massive grinding stone will be used as a seat and the other as the bottom step of an open spiral staircase leading to the top floor. There the open roof timbers are being left exposed three bedrooms, a bathroom and a lounge.
Mr Hutchinson intends to investigate the history of the mill. 'I hope to find something from the Church Commissioners who once owned it. The dates 1805 and 1814 are carved on the front door. '
A bevelled cog from the machinery has gone to the Castle Museum in York for a mill which the museum is reconstructing.
The stream which powered the watermill is now dried up but the Hutchinsons hope to clear out the pond and incorporate it into their garden.
Transcription of an article in the 'People' column of Yorkshire Post, January 1965