Apsley’s Frogmore Paper Mill could face a bill of up to £10,000 to replace a broken electrical cable which has plunged it into darkness.
The world’s oldest mechanised paper mill was forced to run its historic machinery and educational tours with the use of a back-up generator in the wake of the fault.
Although school trips led by torchlight have proved popular, the charity trustees who support the site are worried that the hefty bill could suffocate its resources.
Paper Trail chair of trustees Jacqui Bennettsaid: “Up until now things had gone really well for us, we were bucking the trend because and more and more people had been visiting.
“We were looking forward to a rather successful Christmas period but then suddenly everything went bang – literally.”
Staff and volunteers at the mill initially thought that the outage had been caused by an everyday power cut, but were left fearing the worst when they discovered that the entire cable would have to be replaced.
Ms Bennett added: “For a small charity like us, suddenly finding money like that is a real nightmare.”
Last week, the Gazette reported that the mill was raising funds for brown tourist signs to raise its profile.
Ms Bennett now believes that some of education manager Sue Walnaugh’s ‘tarantula test’ sponsorship for the cause may have to go towards the new cable instead.