- Date: 9 October 2009
- Artform: None
- Region: South West
The mill, which has a reputation as a centre of excellence for contemporary British craft and design, has installed a lift and a ramp to improve its facilities to make a visit there equally accessible for everyone. The craft shop area has also been refurbished with a new look. The project was also supported by Dorset County Council, East Dorset District Council and the Adapt Trust.
An amazing difference to accessibility
Christine Lawry, Walford Mill’s Chief Executive, said, ‘The changes have really made an amazing difference to us, both for accessibility for visitors and for our onsite makers and for staff morale.’
Feedback from visitors has been similarly positive. One said, ‘We are regular visitors to the mill and you had very limited access for wheelchair users. Now we can not only visit the gallery but we can also get around all the other parts of the mill comfortably with our wheelchairs.’
The mill runs a year-round programme of exhibitions, has three permanent on-site makers and features a wide range of regular workshops for adults and a monthly Saturday Craft Club and summer workshops for children. The centre also holds an annual cultural event each summer using a country or a culture as a theme for a celebratory arts day with participatory workshops, music and performances. The shop features a Maker of the Month and showcases work by leading designers and makers from Dorset and the surrounding counties.
The Walford Mill Education Trust, a registered charity, has managed Walford Mill Crafts independently since 1995, taking over from The Dorset Craft Guild who held the lease from 1986 to 1995 and were responsible for establishing the mill as a centre of excellence. The main building is believed to date from the late 18th century and since it ceased operation as a working mill in 1966, has had a variety of uses including as a builder’s yard, a coal yard and a furniture store room. The mill was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1982 as part of an estate that included Kingston Lacy House, Badbury Rings and Corfe Castle. The District Council purchased the mill buildings and 13 acres of the estate the following year and were responsible for the renovation programme.
For further information visit www.walfordmillcrafts.co.uk