Ten Years at the Mill

13 Jun 2024

A big and bitter-sweet change yesterday; Cydar has moved out of Bulbeck Mill.

Bulbeck Mill

A few weeks and ten years ago, I started work at Cydar, and went from working in a perfectly nice but fairly generic Business Park office to something very different.

There’s been a mill on the site since Roman times, but the current building dates from the early 19th century. As well as a mill it’s been a medical instruments factory, and more recently a photo gallery and yoga studio. The ghosts of these latter uses were still very much in evidence when I arrived, in particular in the floor-to-ceiling mirrors covering most of the walls on the first floor.

At first, the furniture was a bit of a hodge-podge, including not only a large desk made from an Ikea wooden kitchen countertop, but sofas, chairs, and a ping-pong table (generally used for meetings, rather than actual ping-pong). For a while, there was a baby grand piano in one corner, though I don’t recall anyone playing it.

Over the years, the furniture and fixtures and fittings became less esoteric, but the ancient building still made itself felt. Alas, as the company has grown and changed, and the kind of work we do has become more varied, it became increasingly hard to fit the two together. The time had come to move on.

One of the things I’ll miss most about working there was not the building itself, but the surroundings, and in particular the nature. We’d regularly see squirrels and foxes, egrets and swans, herons and kestrels. A kingfisher used to hide in the tree directly outside the window opposite my desk, and if you were very lucky you might catch a glimpse of it fishing in the millpond. Occasionally an otter would swim by. This year a pair of red kites are nesting on the other side of the pond, and just a couple of weeks ago, a stoat peered in through the window. You don’t get that on a science park or in the middle of a city.

On Monday, I’ll be turning up not to the mill, but at the new offices near the station in Cambridge. It certainly won’t be the same, but there will be different perks and annoyances. The past ten years have been good; let’s see what the next ten bring.

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