The last tin streaming mill in Europe to undergo huge restoration project

A major restoration project to safeguard the last original tin stream mill in Europe from falling into disrepair is about to begin in Cornwall.

Opened in 1865, Tolgus Mill was among hundreds of other mills in the duchy but its owners, Cornwall Gold, say its future needs protecting.

The first major job is to replace the mill's frame house roof which has many holes and is collapsing in places.

Property Manager, Chris McKenna says it would be a "massive waste" if they did nothing with it.

"The history that's in this place and the amount of years it has been here it would be such as shame for it not to live on and to go on for a hundred years and so on."

Visitors chose replacing the roof of the old mill as the first major phase of the restoration work Credit: ITV News

The restoration means a lot to people like Phyllis Ward whose father Leonard Mitchell joined as the site Foreman in 1931."All I can remember, my dad is working here and when he retired at 65 he didn't like being at home and came back and done another five years here until he was 70," she said.

"He loved everything about this place, you know, it was like that playground. I think"

Phyllis says she thinks he would be thrilled that parts of the site are still running like they used to.

Phyllis says she learnt a lot about the tin making process from her father Leonard Mitchell who was the Tolgus Mill foreman Credit: ITV News

The aim is to retain as much of the original structure and features of the Grade II listed building as possible.

Visitors to the site voted to prioritise the repairs to the roof over the water wheel and round frame.

Over the years funds have been raised through the Tolgus Jewellery range which uses the tin produced and smelted on site in combination with precious metals.

Chris says Cornwall Gold had previously applied for heritage funding over the years but the roof work will now cost £50,000 for materials and installation.

The new interactive exhibition shares stories of those who used to work at the mill as well as the process of making Tin Credit: ITV News

This year a new onsite museum opened at Cornwall Gold to inform visitors more about the history of the unique mill.

Owner and Managing Director Mike Taylor says they are "determined to preserve" and "bring to life" the mill once again.

“We knew that by engaging the public in this important piece of history we would be able to nurture their support in our preservation efforts."

"We are delighted to now be starting the next phase of our restoration works, which with the recent rains, are needed more than ever!”.