Abandoned grain mill a hub of industry once more

The derelict old mill on the Ayton to Eyemouth road
The derelict old mill on the Ayton to Eyemouth road

An old grain mill on the Eyemouth to Ayton road that dates back to 1654 has been brought back to life after years of neglect.

A corn mill in a previous life, the Eyemouth mill is now a stylish showroom for an interior design company and the family home for company owners Elina Helenius and her husband Michael James.

The old mill at Eyemouth has been given a very modern makeover

The old mill at Eyemouth has been given a very modern makeover

The ex-Grade C listed building, Eyemouth mill, known locally at Netherbyres Mill, is described by experts as “one of the most complete and best preserved of the thirteen corn mills, two textile mills and one paper mill that were working on the Eyewater until the mid-20th century”.

The mill would have been used to prepare pearl-barley and oatmeal that were shipped in great quantities to London in the days when Eyemouth was primarily a grain exporting port. By the late 18th century the town had started to develop into a major east coast fishing port.

Finnish born Elina is using their new home to showcase ‘Decodence’ their interior and property improvement business.

“We were aware of the fact that the building was of huge significance to the local people as Eyemouth,” explained Elina, who fell in love with the building and negotiated the purchase from Australia. Historically Eyemouth was a grain exporting port and only became a major fishing port in the late 18th Century.”

The interior of the 'Netherbyres Mill'

The interior of the 'Netherbyres Mill'

“When we purchased the building, whilst living in Australia, we became very aware of the importance of the mill to the local people and instructed plans which would reflect its history, retaining original features, and offer a sympathetic reflection of the industrial nature of the building.”

Some time later, with an ample helping of blood, sweat and tears, the renovations allowed Elina and her family to move in, and Decodence was born at the site of the former grain mill.

Typically working with a mix of commercial and residential clients, Elina’s skills reach far beyond decorating and soft furnishings, with qualifications and vast experience in structural redesign and property improvement, also under her belt.

The finished space at The Old Mill capitalises on Elina’s trade experience and pays homage to an industrial history with many retained features and design nuances which hint towards its heritage, with superb views along the Eye Water.

'after' Eyemouth Grain Mill

'after' Eyemouth Grain Mill

Before the mill’s make-over The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monument of Scotland previously said that it was “highly regrettable that following a review by Historic Scotland in 2007 the mill was de-listed and is now under threat of development into eight apartments and two houses, a planning permission being granted later that year”.

In 2005 planning permission was granted for a change of use for the building from a granary/store to form four houses. In 2006 updated planning consent was given for alterations and extension to form eight flats and one house, plus an atrium and rooftop turbines.

Then in 2011 a further planning application was approved for the change of use to a dwelling house, and the results of that change were on display recently when Elina and Michael hosted a launch event, welcoming Berwickshire and Borders business people to the property and showing off how to renovate an old grain mill and make it relevant to the 21st century.