Leeds & West Yorkshire

Historic flood-hit museum Thwaite Mills reopens

Thwaite Mills
Image caption Thwaite Mills dates back more than 350 years

An historic mill museum in West Yorkshire has reopened to the public after a huge clean-up.

Thwaite Mills, one of the last remaining examples of a water-powered mill in Britain, was damaged four weeks ago when the River Aire burst into the Aire and Calder Navigation.

The museum and island were covered in a thick layer of silt and other debris.

Staff said they were "overwhelmed" by the help they received.

Six canal boats were swept away from the site before being secured by firefighters downstream.

Site keeper Sarah Barton said the boaters helped get the museum back on track despite suffering themselves.

"We've been overwhelmed and humbled by the help and support we received," she said.

"Leeds City Council, other organisations and the public helped with the clean-up. We're extremely grateful to the boaters, who not only helped each other through a difficult time but supported staff in getting everything back into a state where we can re-open."

Thwaite Mills, with one of the few remaining industrial drying sheds of its kind in the world, had a £200,000 renovation in 2010.

'True Yorkshire grit'

Council leader Judith Blake said: "The determination and dedication of all involved in the clean-up has been typical of the incredible community spirit we've seen across Leeds over the past few weeks.

"The city has come together and shown true Yorkshire grit, rising to the challenge of getting much-loved places like Thwaite Mills back on their feet and pitching in to help each other cope in what have been incredibly difficult circumstances."

Thwaite Mills grounds will be closed for the next few months and Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills remains closed.

Elsewhere in West Yorkshire, volunteers helped clean up the Calder and Hebble Navigation.

Bradford and Bingley Sports Club is also under repair.

Image copyright Leeds City Council
Image caption Volunteers and staff at Thwaites Mills have cleared the site of silt and debris left by floodwaters

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