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An Englishmans home is his mill

Then in 1966 - There was a jolly miller and he lived by himself - and Mr Ken Hart could be following the famous story line when he shortly takes up residence in an old mill at High Leven.

But there will have been some changes since the days the jolly miller used it for grinding corn. Mr Hart, a Middlesbrough motor engineer who bought the 250-year old property earlier this year, has had it completely rebuilt and is turning it into quite a showpiece.

“We have had to overcome a few problems” said Mr Hart. “But I think we have won and I hope to be living in the mill by Christmas.”

The unusual task of building the “round house” has fallen to Acklam builder Mr W. Warne.

“The most difficult part has been keeping things level., because as well as building upwards the walls also slope inwards, but I have really enjoyed the work immensely.”

Much of the stonework is from the original mill and Mr Warne had tried to retain much of its old world charm – although the building (left) was so derelict it meant almost starting from scratch.

“And with many of the floors destroyed and the roof gone it was difficult to build without some kind of pattern”.

The front door leads to a large reception area featuring a wrought iron open plan staircase. The ceilings are all oak beamed and the walls finished in rough cast white plaster.

On the second floor, the lounge has a large open fire which will supplement the central heating which Mr Hart intends installing himself.

The two-bedrooms, bathroom and toilet are located on the third floor, which provides a superb view of the surrounding Cleveland countryside.

Mr Hart bought the mill and the surrounding land for £1000 from local farmer Mr J.H. Goldie. By the time the conversion is complete he estimates it will be worth about £15,000.

“It was a gamble” admits Mr Hart .”But I think it will pay off. At first people thought it was a crazy idea, now they think its wonderful.”

This article appeared in the January 1999 edition of Now & Then Magazine