Black Pool mill

This building houses probably the only complete Joseph Armfield installation in the UK. It is a historical masterpiece that the Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks Authority seem prepared to let drift into ruin and decay

Built in 1813 on the site of the former Blackpool ironworks. The mill was designed for symmetry, with a central main entrance and with its main block flanked by equal low wings at each end. The original water-wheel was 4.5 m diameter and 3.5 m in width, on a wrought-iron shaft and was beneath the main block of the mill. New machinery was installed by Armfield in 1910 powered by  a turbine and continued in use until after the second World War. In 1958 the mill was converted to electricity. In 1968 a program of restoration of the mill was commenced by Lady Victoria Dashwood to convert the mill to a tourist attraction. This in turn failed and since then the building has fallen into a state of disrepair. Recently the owners of Bluestone National Parks Resort produced a 2.5million plan to restore the mill by incorporating it into its tourist facilities. As the mill has failed as a flour mill and as a museum because of lack of turnover it must become a sustainable project. Although the Parks Authority have approved the conversion, they haven't approved the supporting works to generate the funds to make the mill viable and sustainable as an Education facility, a Tourist attraction and one that would create around 60 new jobs by the erection of a new events barn and other facilities. It seems in their naivety and adopting a 'jobs worth' attitude they would prefer to wear blinkers and let the building rot and continue to exhibit a structure that can only be described as an eyesore in the National Park rather than look to the future and support the development.


Elevation showing the main equipment with front wall removed at time of survey in 2017


Elevation with rear wall removed

P2-R2 P2-R1
P3-R5 P3-R7

The above drawings show the original setup with the sack hoist in the roof and the turbine drive.


Elevator’s and screw conveyors


In 1958 the sack hoist was removed from the attic and modified to provide a make shift electrical drive. At this time the mill was only used for storing corn and preparation of the tenant farmers animal feed. Bluestone had intended to relocate the equipment back into its original position as shown in the long layouts above.


This is how the mill looked some time ago, except now it has security fencing placed around the site due to the number of break-ins they've experienced since the planning application was published. It seems the officers and the Pembrokeshire National Parks Authority Committee feel this is a fitting monument in this state to commemorate both local and Welsh history regardless of the benefits to the local community. It seems they much prefer to have as a mausoleum for a dead past which no one can visit, see, enjoy or learn from. It will remain permanently closed and inaccessible and will continue to decay until it falls down rather than accept the present or the future by allowing a new building along with other facilities in order to make this a sustainable proposition. Click on the image opposite to see Bluestones proposal for the mill and the surrounding area



Dust extraction system from mill stones & Plenum chamber


This image above shows the equipment as existing (apart from position of the original sack hoist mechanism in the attic) The hoist frame is shown in its current position as part of the electrical drive on the right hand side above an unconnected scalper that has been located as a barrier to control public access when it was a museum. The bottom covers of the plenum chamber are not shown. The turbine is still in position. There is an additional belt drive into the basement for an external device? from a small pully adjacent to the main belt drive that is not shown.


It seems of no concern to the Park Authority that the building is on the Local Authority’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register and it has been the subject of a structural and condition survey. These conclude that the building is generally in a stable condition but there are serious areas of damage and decay which, if not repaired, will lead to a major loss of historic material and structural failure