A NEW museum devoted to local engineering history is a real family affair for proud owner Malcolm Gill.

For the new attraction by the restored watermill in Crakehall, near Bedale, North Yorkshire, is devoted to the work of a foundry which was once run by his late grandfather.

Mr Gill and his wife bought the watermill just over two years ago and discovered the iron frame of the water wheel was made by the Leeming Bar foundry, F Mattison and Co.

It was once a big employer locally but is now largely forgotten, although the name lives on through a wide range of cast iron products bearing its name.

Mr Gill wanted to establish a museum devoted to Mattisons and the company named after his grandfather, John H Gill and Sons, which took the foundry over in 1937 and maintained its tradition.

He set about clearing and adapting an outbuilding by the mill and now, two years on, it has been officially opened by the Vale of York's Tory MP, Anne McIntosh.

When he moved to the mill, Mr Gill took some potential museum material with him and a public appeal led to more items being donated for the collection.

And the artefacts now cover a wide range - from agricultural equipment to a cheese press and from feed troughs to an old pub table.

"Creating the museum has been virtually a one-man project, altering the outbuilding and restoring the artefacts, which is why it has taken two years," said Mr Gill.

"I still have room for a bit of expansion at one end of the building so I will not be turning my back on anything else that is offered for the collection."