18th century tidal mill to be sold at auction

18th century mill.
18th century mill.

A unique part of Chichester history is up for sale: the 18th century mill building at Birdham Pool Marina, Chichester Harbour, is to be sold by auction on April 16, through joint auctioneers Henry Adams and Clive Emson.

As one of the most significant and picturesque buildings in the harbour, this impressive Grade II Listed property is truly a one-off.

Set beside the lock at the end of its own peninsula, the Mill offers an extraordinary restoration opportunity. Most recently used as a store, the beautiful brick and timber building could potentially be converted to residential usage; either as one exceptional home or divided into three deluxe units.

Alternatively, with its prestigious waterside location and unparalleled dual aspect views across the harbour, it would make a fantastic restaurant subject to all the necessary consents being obtainable.

Birdham Mill’s sale will begin a new chapter in its long and chequered past. The present building dates from 1768 (although an earlier mill was mentioned in the Domesday Book) and was originally one of two mills standing side-by-side, each using tidal power to grind wheat and oats. According to reports, there was great competition between the two millers until one of them, Charles Farne, bought the other out. Potential new owners should be warned: in 1928 the Chichester Post carried a story that the Mill was haunted by the ghost of a rival miller!

The wheels of the Mill eventually ceased turning in 1935, making it the last working tidal mill in Sussex. At this time, the Farne family sold the mill, barn and land to Captain Coldicott, who founded Birdham Estates Ltd and enclosed the outer Mill Pool as a harbour for small boats. Requisitioned by the Navy during World War II, Birdham Pool continued to be developed as a private marina after the war.

David Adams, partner at Henry Adams, comments, “The sale of Birdham Mill presents a fabulous opportunity to restore a highly unusual and historic Grade II Listed building. And with access across the harbour lock and spectacular views over the marina, there can be few buildings in Chichester with such a sought after location.”

Birdham Mill will go to auction at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on April 16, 2012.

For more information, contact David Adams, Henry Adams, on 01243 533633 dadams@henryadams.co.uk or Sam Kinloch, Clive Emson Auctioneers, on 0845 603 6614 or email sam@cliveemson.co.uk