Worsbrough miller embraces ‘daily grind’ after quitting teaching job

19th April 2024

Making sure the stones keep turning in a 400-year-old flour mill might sound to some people like a fantastic way to escape the pressures of the 21st Century.

But for ex-teacher Simon Dodd it is a reality, and often hard work, after he became head miller at Barnsley’s 17th Century Worsbrough Mill in 2018. It was a dream come true, though, according to Simon, who adds that he could never have predicted what it would be like to run a piece of history.

Simon says he had previously worked in education for 27 years, teaching a variety of subjects at schools in Cumbria. While there, he says he helped a friend at a traditional mill – and as a result had become hooked. “I loved it, but couldn’t afford to leave education at that point,” he says.

However, when he later saw an online ad for the job at Worsbrough Mill, he decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My initial thought was, I’ve got to go for this,” he says. “I remember at the interview being asked a question and me just saying, ‘the reason I’ve gone for it is that it’s my dream job’.”

As the successful candidate, Simon’s role is now to keep the waterwheel at the mill turning five days a week, making sure freshly-milled flour can be shipped to bakeries and kitchens across the country.

The mill – the oldest part of which dates back to 1625 – has grown over the centuries, but the process has barely changed, he says.

For the full interview by Oli Constable, BBC News visit

Worsbrough Mill is a working 17th-century water mill surrounded by a stunning country park in Barnsley and will celebrate its 400th Birthday in 2025. As a result of secured funding of £244,111 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund it will celebrate its unique industrial heritage and future proof its history through new volunteering opportunities, community engagement, and creative commissions.  

Worsbrough miller embraces ‘daily grind’ after quitting teaching job