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News

Central Helps Tatton Park Field-to-Fork Project

Anna Ellam

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Cheshire’s Tatton Park is one of the UK’s most complete historic estates, with 1000 acres of deer park, landscaped gardens, medieval old hall and a working farm, the latter of which has recently been the focus of an extensive heritage project.

Working with ABB, Central Group is proud to be part of this project which aims to tell the important story of innovative food production.  ‘Field to Fork’ aims to inspire visitors, young and old, by bringing the journey of our food to life and telling the story of the Egertons, the forward-thinking family behind the Tatton Estate who were at the forefront of agriculture from mid-Victorian times to the 1930s 

Central to this project is the mid-Victorian agricultural feed mill which was used to produce the feed for the animals from crops grown at the farm and it is here where Central Group and ABB have been able to help.

The mill is an example of mid-Victorian ingenuity, housing a number of machines used for animal feed preparation.  Originally powered by a steam engine, it progressed to a boiler and then on to electricity in 1947, however in 1987 an engine similar to the original was installed to show how the mill operated in its heyday.  Central have been instrumental in helping this element of the project get up and running again.

Working with ABB, Central has provided a number of refurbished motors, installed at various points in the mill to allow for working demonstrations in an authentic environment for visitors.

Drives installed by Central and provided by ABB allow the Farm’s miller to control the speed of the motors and talk through the demonstrations at different speeds.  In addition drives provide a ‘soft start’ which together with running at lower speed reduce  ‘wear and tear’  ensuring the old milling equipment in not subjected excessive wear which would occur were the equipment running at full speed.

The mill is considered to have a high heritage value and is ‘the missing part of the Tatton jigsaw, which has not been fully interpreted to visitors.  It played a key role in providing food for the animals on the estate, which in turn provided food, milk and cheese for the Egerton family, as well as manure for the farm and gardens.  It is a very important part of the whole story of food production and agricultural history which Tatton wants to tell better’

The mill is now fully operational and visitors are able to explore the building, meet the miller and take a guided tour to watch the historic machinery in action.  And this is just part of the wider Field to Fork story at Tatton Park Farm.  Visitors are also able to meet rare breed animals, see new arrivals through the year, enjoy food demonstrations and talk to characters from the past.