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Cornard People

Page updated - 19 February 2005

 

Tina Baker

Since 1851 succeeding generations of the Baker family have lived in Mill House, Great Cornard. Tina is the 5th Mrs Baker to live there and is very aware of the history of the family. She says that it puts your own life into perspective and makes you aware of your own mortality. However, Tina is in no way subdued by this thought.  She is lively, sociable, and interested in everything going on around her. She was a councillor in Great Cornard in 1991 for 4 years and was re-elected to the council in the last local elections. Tina is Chairman of Planning and Development committee and has inherited three of the "hottest potatoes" in the future of Great Cornard - Guildford Europe, Rugby Road and Bakers Mill. In Tina's opinion, decisions made now will affect the whole village and change its character permanently.

 

There are some unintentional correlations between the previous generation of the Baker family and the present one. Edward Baker (the first Baker to live in Mill House) was the lock keeper at the old lock and Robert; Tina's husband is the honorary lock keeper of the renovated lock. Sydney, the son of Edward was a magistrate on the Sudbury bench and now Tina is also a magistrate. Tina and Robert have two children, Charles who is a Civil Engineer and Harriet is now at University.

 

While Tina and her family are luxuriating in the silence that surrounds them since the Mill closed Robert reflects that, as a flour miller, it is a sad silence with the Mill no longer working. It has given support and employment to many Cornard families over the past generations. The area that the factory stood on is being redeveloped (will put something in here when it is known).

 

Not surprisingly, living besides the Stour, the Baker family are very fond of the river and have two boats.  One of them, the Firebird is 100 years old and boasts a Mumford engine which is even older than the boat and was made in the large engineering works that used to be in Colchester on the site now occupied by Debenhams.  Firebird had the honour of being the first boat out of the new Cornard Lock when in re-opened in 1997, as it is the oldest boat on the river.

 

The cellar is the only part of the house that has been flooded when the Stour overflows its banks. Tina says that the millers knew exactly where to build their houses. The water in the flooded cellar is always crystal clear due to it rising through a brick floor with sand underneath. The Water Meadows flood badly.

 

Tina is quite protective of the ducks and swans that come into the Mill Pond. They found it very hard when the Mill closed as they had a constant supply of food from the split bags when the mill was in operation. Most of them have left the area and Tina feeds those that remain when the weather is hard. She is also well known at the local vets as she has had to rush swans to them that have been damaged by spent fishing tackle. She has a tub full of the detritus left by some thoughtless fishermen that has been retrieved from swans, ducks and birds. Tina has even made a stocking to fit over the swans to make them easier to handle and has occasionally had to take two together to the vets. Not unnaturally fishing is not allowed in the Millpond.

 

The Baker family has played a very important part in the development of Great Cornard and we wish Tina and her family well in this new phase of their history.

 

Interview by Joan Herbert (Cornard News) 04 November 2003