£100k grant funds Mayfield mill restoration

Argos Hill Mill
Argos Hill Mill

Restoration of the Grade II Listed Argos Hill Mill near Mayfield has been boosted by a £100,000 Heritage Lottery Grant.

The Argos Hill Mill was built in 1835, struck by lightning in 1963 and damaged by the great storm of 1987. Since then it has been virtually derelict.

A major campaign was launched to raise the money for restoration and work had already been started by a group of volunteers.

But this grant now means the mill’s turning sweeps can be fully repaired and placed back in position for the first time in 80 years. Eventually it is hoped the mill can be opened to the public.

Geoff Daughtrey, chairman of the Argos Hill Windmill Trust, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and look forward to restoring the mill - which is an outstanding example of our industrial heritage - to its former glory.”

Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “Not only will the HLF grant restore and rejuvenate this historic listed mill in the heart of East Sussex but it will also enable full public access for the first time in more than 10 years. An exciting range of community activities means that more people than ever will have the chance to get involved with their local heritage - all helping to ensure a sustainable long-term future for the site.”

The earliest record of a mill on the site is in 1656 but the current mill was built in the mid 1800s and worked by wind until 1927 by successive generations of the Weston family. The fantail blew off in 1929 and shutters removed from the sails in 1932.

The mill was acquired by Uckfield Council in 1955. A new breast beam was fitted by Heathfield millwrights Neve’s and more restoration work done in 1969 by Hole’s of Burgess hill.

The mill has been on the Buildings at Risk Register since at least 2003. In October that year members of the Friends of Argos Hill Windmill were banned from working there as its poor structural condition was considered dangerous. In 2008 Wealden District Council proposed dismantling the mill and storing it but that option was rejected by members of the Sussex Mills Group and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings when it was pointed out Wealden had not spend money allocated for its maintenance.