Glastonbury’s pioneering approach to sustainable renovation

A former medieval water mill, fundamental to Glastonbury’s industrial heritage, has been restored and once more houses a thriving business.


The Grade II listed Northover Mill1 was the first building to be renovated by a pioneering charity which aims to promote employment by bringing derelict, listed buildings back into use as new workplaces.

Archaeologist Nancy Hollinrake, a trustee of the Beckery Island Regeneration Trust, explains: “Northover Mill was part of the Morland Sheepskin factory, a major employer in Glastonbury for many years, but when the factory closed in the 1990s, many buildings on the site fell into decay.

“We believe that renovating an old building in this way is the most sustainable thing you can do. It was only natural for us to use sustainable materials throughout the project, such as Earthborn’s Claypaint.”

Claypaint was specified by restoration contractor John Tucker who said  “Northover Mill was lime plastered throughout, so it was vital to apply a breathable paint. If water gets trapped behind impervious materials such as conventional paints, it can cause issues within the wall and lead to plaster failure and peeling paint. Claypaint enables moisture to evaporate from within the walls while remaining stable itself.”

John added: “The decorators had not used Claypaint before but are now converted, having seen how well it performed on both the original lime plaster and the newly plastered sections.”

Cliff Wilson of Wholesale Mineral Make Up, tenants at Northover Mill, said “We manufacture, pack and despatch our natural make up products from this site so it is important that the paint is hygienic and performs well. Claypaint’s eco credentials complement our approach to business and we think its rich, matt finish really enhances the look of our building.”

The breathability of Claypaint has an additional benefit for the company’s manufacturing facilities as it absorbs moisture, which reduces the likelihood of condensation. Evening out the humidity of a room in this way also creates a healthier, more comfortable environment for the building’s occupants.

The Claypaint colours specified at Northover Mill were Ballet Shoe, Straw and Marbles, and the paint was supplied by Earthborn stockist Earthfare of Glastonbury.

For further information visit:


The Beckery Island Regeneration Trust

John Tucker Carpentry

Wholesale Mineral Makeup

1 Northover Mill was built as Glastonbury Abbey’s fulling mill in the 15th Century. In the late 19th Century it was the first building occupied by Morland. The mill was given to Beckery Island Regeneration Trust by the South West Regional Development Agency in 2011, and the Trust obtained various grants, including the Architectural Heritage Fund, to finance its restoration. The project has received a commendation from English Heritage’s Heritage Angels scheme.

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