Windmill Sails Again

Regular visitors to the Museum will have noticed that there has been a huge amount of activity and improvements to the Windmill this year.

In 2006 the Museum raised funds for the restoration of the windmill sails and some of those funds were to go towards the replacement of the tailpole and wheel. The tailpole is the long pieceof wood coming the back of the windmill to the ground which enables the windmill to be turned into the prevailing winds. However, we found it extremely difficult to find a piece of oak long enough to create a replacement – it needed to be 30 feet! However, this year the right piece of timber was sourced and we were able to complete the long-awaited repairs.

The maintenance work started in April when the tailpole cartwheel was replaced after the previous wheel decayed to the point the windmill could no longer be turned. Andy Cameron, one of our Windmill Volunteers, spent a good deal of time finding the best cartwright who would recreate a wheel within budget and took the original iron rim to Kent to be refitted with the new wheel. Andy then brought the wheel back to the Museum and fitted it to the existing tailpole with the assistance of our maintenance volunteers.

The next stage of repair works began in September when the major difficulties with turning the Buck, the top part of the windmill, were cleared by the replacement of the entire tailpole. The old tailpole was removed and the new timber was sourced and fitted into place by Adam Marriot, our local Millwright. It took 3 volunteers, 2 contractors and a mechanical crane to move the 30 feet long oak timber into place.

On 21st September the windmill was put into full sail for the first time in 18 months and the internal workings were filmed by the BBC for the BBC One series Coast.

We are now looking for volunteers to be trained to sail the windmill for our growing visitor numbers. Volunteers would learn to demonstrate the milling process and on windy days help sail the windmill and mill flour.  For more information on Volunteering in the Windmill please contact Sue, our Office Manager on 01527 831363 or email officemanager@avoncroft.org.uk.

The next stage in the project is to train all the Windmill volunteers to sail the windmill and have the buildings working during the Museum’s open season. Plus we plan improve the internal workings further to enable the Museum to once again sell our milled flour to the public.

The Museum would like to thank all the volunteers who made this project happen and the RD Turner Trust, I Addison Trust and an anonymous donor for funding the repairs to the Windmill.

<<Back