Conservation experts from Great Yarmouth help save Bulgarian watermill

The historic structure was last used during the Soviet era.

Two buildings conservation experts from Great Yarmouth are heading to Bulgaria next week to help conserve a threatened historic watermill – as part of an ongoing conservation skills exchange.

The visit by Darren Barker and Ian Hardy, of the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, is part of the trust’s partnership work to share knowledge about traditional buildings skills and conservation on a pan-European level.

The specialists will spend seven days in the Eastern European country, teaching and advising conservation trainees, including students from Sofia Architectural University, on how to record and survey the historic structure, which was last used during the Soviet era.

This initial work will kick-start the two-year project, which aims to eventually bring the mill back into use as a conservation training hub. It is led by the Devetaki Plateau Association, a non-governmental organisation, which aims to preserve and promote the cultural heritage in this part of northern Bulgaria.

Darren and Ian also work in Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s conservation section, but the project is funded by the Headley Trust, one of the Sainsbury family’s charitable trusts.

The pair will be accompanied by three post-graduate conservation students from Lincoln University, with which the trust also has a formal partnership.

In September, the preservation trust will send five of its own trainees to Bulgaria to help out with the watermill project, followed in 2015 by two more sets of five trainees.