Sweeps to be taken down at historic windmill in Windmill Hill

Work at Windmill Hill
Work at Windmill Hill

The final stage of restoration work at the largest post mill in the UK saw more work carried out on Thursday (February 26).

The sweeps were due to be taken down from the windmill at Windmill Hill yesterday (Thursday) from the iconic Grade II listed building for new shutters to be made and they will be restored to the structure at the end of July.

Restoration of the windmill’s machinery is continuing along with the refurbishment of exterior steps to the trestle floor.

The work means the windmill will be set to grind corn again – more than a century since it ceased working.

Testing and commissioning will take place during the summer. Volunteers will be trained to operate the machinery and it is expected the mill will be grinding flour for sale in the autumn.

The latest work is the final stage of the restoration of the windmill which was on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register and was rescued from dereliction in 1996.

The first stage of the restoration, with a grant of £557,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, enabled the mill to be made available to the public in 2006.

The windmill is run as a registered charity and is in the custody of trustees. It has always been their dream to restore the mill to complete working order and capable of producing flour as it did for the first time more than 200 years ago.

The recent Heritage Lottery Fund of £80,800 will allow this to happen.

A spokeswoman for the project said: “[The windmill] is part of local heritage for future generations to ‘own’ and enjoy. A team of volunteers work on the restoration throughout the year and another team work as guides throughout the season when it is open to the public.”

The historic building can be viewed from Easter Sunday through to mid October, when it is open on the first and third Sunday of the month from 2.30pm to 5pm as well as all public holidays. Private visits for schools and groups can be arranged.

There are plans to make the mill available for weddings in 2016. For further information on the windmill please contact Bee Frost on 01323 833033 or Jenny Alder on 01323 832329.

The mill was built in 1814 and raised on to brick piers around 1851.

It was converted to steam power in 1894, but ceased working as a mill in 1913. The derelict structure was bought at auction in 1993, and the Trust to secure its future was formed in 1996.