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Report - - Leeder & Sons Ltd Grain Mill & Granary - Long Stratton, Norfolk - March 2020 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Leeder & Sons Ltd Grain Mill & Granary - Long Stratton, Norfolk - March 2020


Five.Claws

General Nuisance
28DL Full Member
Well, there's no place more self-isolating than an abandoned granary miles from civilisation, so with that excuse ready to use on any military checkpoints and/or Gestapo patrols, today I ventured off into the Norfolk countryside on this (perhaps sarcastically) beautiful March afternoon.

I'd spotted this place a couple of months back when out this way visiting people (remember when we used to do that??) and on my return I was saddened to see the demolition team had moved in, but as their progress so far seemed pretty minimal I decided to venture in to see what I could find!

HISTORY:

So it seems this place started out life as windmill, constructed in 1836. Within roughly the next 50 years, a series of outbuildings, stables and stores were all built around the original mill as it became a major part of local agriculture. In 1883, it was purchased by the Leeder family, and has remained in this family until the present day - you can even find them listed on Companies House, with the director being one Basil L. Leeder. Around 1933, the mill ceased working with wind power, moving to steam (the engine for which was installed back in 1914) instead and sadly, a fire in the 1950s gutted the original mill tower. It was rebuilt, and over the next 20 years modern warehouses and buildings were added to the site. At some time over its history, Leeder & Sons also moved into the world of animal feeds & grains alongside its other practices, though I believe the animal feed side of the business may have become the dominant aspect of the mill, especially towards the end of its life.

As far as I can tell, business continued as normal at Leeder & Sons until 2013 when it ran into financial woes and was declared insolvent. Legal back and forth with various creditors and administrators seemed to go on until March 2019; I can't find out exactly for sure when the mill stopped functioning. I'm assuming around 2013, though it may have been later. Some parts of the building are in a fair amount of decay, so my assumption would be it's been sitting empty for a few years now. Searching Leeder & Sons on Google brings up a lot of directory and contact listings and even a (now defunct) website, so my guess is that they were trading until fairly recently.

I'm not too sure what the future holds for the mill, though it seems some kind of renovation work has started. The main red-brick granary appears largely in good condition and could well be converted into housing. The mill tower itself also still appears in decent condition.

If you'd like more history on the original mill buildings, check out this webpage - http://www.norfolkmills.co.uk/Windmills/stratton-st-michael-towermill.html

EXPLORE:

Not masses to say here; it was a pretty fun explore with lots of rooms and buildings to poke around and interesting little reminders of its working life. If you like old machinery and industrial equipment, you'll love this place! It's teeming with old machines that I couldn't even begin to guess the function of, for the most part at least. Lots of things to climb too!

One thing to note - at least one of the more modern sheds at the back of the property is seemingly still in some kind of agricultural use, as it's filled with farm machinery and tractors. When I arrived at the front entrance to the site, there was a car parked up; I lurked a while and couldn't see or hear any movement but to be safe I took a walk and entered the mill complex via the fields to the rear. Steep and very muddy irrigation ditches around the other sides of the building prevent entry this way.

Sadly I wasn't able to get into the old mill tower itself, nor a farmhouse at the very front of the property which is abandoned but midway through renovation work, so doubtful there'd be much to see here anyway.
Was a shame not to be able to get inside the mill tower; it did appear blocked off but just as the time came to find a way inside, a big black Nissan Navara 4x4 pulled into the front courtyard with "unfriendly landowner" written all over it, so I took that as very much my cue to slink away and make my exit back out through the rear fields once more. Definitely annoying to miss out on that last bit though, so maybe I'll give it another go in the near future before the whole place is off limits forever.

And now, on to the pictures! I'll split these into outdoor and indoor, and more than likely they'll have to be across two posts...

Mill Exterior:

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Unless the site appears completely deserted (and there are other houses overlooking the front, so be cautious), heading in across the back fields are your best approach.

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The STALKER is strong with this one. Enough mouldy concrete and asbestos to give Chernobyl a run for its money!

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If you're just able to make out the metal warehouses to the back - these are the ones which appear to still be in use, so worth staying out of their line of view.

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Betwixt two silos!

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Staring down the barrel of a grain silo!

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Inside the silo:

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Attachments

Five.Claws

General Nuisance
28DL Full Member
PART TWO

Inside the granary buildings:


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Would certainly make for some stylish loft space living...

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Not the place for those living a gluten-free lifestyle.

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They had ONE job!

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The curved section of wall is actually part of the outer wall of the old mill tower.

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If anyone has even the slighest idea what this machine is, let me know! Until then I shall refer to her simply as Big Bertha.

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A potential escape route in case of angry landowners in Nissan 4x4s!

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A sample of the produce...

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A view of the old mill from behind a decade of dust and cobwebs.

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Another view of the old mill from inside the granary. I believe there is only one way in; the front door, guarded by aforementioned Nissan-wielding landowners!


I hope you've enjoyed this report and the pictures! Was a very entertaining explore and a good way to break the tedium of Lockdown Living. And hey, given the way things are going and if Boris gets his way, we've going to have a whole load of new abandoned places to explore very soon!


Stay safe out there...
 

urbanchemist

28DL Regular User
Regular User
The machines on the top floor look like 'flour dressers' - for sieving/fractionating flour.
Wonder if there is anything interesting left inside the windmill bit...
 

Five.Claws

General Nuisance
28DL Full Member
Wonder if there is anything interesting left inside the windmill bit...
As it was gutted in a fire back in the 50s, and by this point it had ceased operating as a windmill for over 20 years, I doubt there's anything much in the way of mechanics, but there could be a nice little trove of old agricultural tools and bits and bobs! My plan is to give it at least another try in the near future, if I manage anything I'll update with more pictures. :thumb
 

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