September 2 2014 Latest news:
Emma Lake, Reporter
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
A £1.4 million grant has secured the future of an Upminster windmill dating back to 1803.
The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will allow repairs to be carried out to the Grade II listed windmill, which is one of only six in London to have survived with its sails in tact.
Dennis Coombs, chairman of Upminster Windmill Preservation Trust, said: “We’re really grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for making this award.
“Volunteers have been opening the mill to the public for almost half-a-century now, during which the fabric of the mill has continued to decay. This will now be reversed and we will see the mill working again.”
The building, which is one of the most complete examples of a smock mill in the country, currently sits on English Heritage’s at risk register.
Havering Council, who own the site will work with the Upminster Windmill Preservation Trust to restore the mill.
Sue Bowers, head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “This is a rare surviving example of a building that was at the heart of a local community from the early 1800s, a site of local industry providing employment and helping to feed the village of which it was a part.
“This project will create a working example from this bygone era while creating present day job and volunteering opportunities.”
The restoration project will also create an education and training centre in a separate building that will allow public access to a wide range of historical documents for the first time.
Councillor Melvin Wallace, Cabinet Member for Culture and Community Engagement, said:
“Upminster Windmill is one of the most significant heritage sites in the borough, and this funding will go a long way, not only towards restoring it to its former glory, but also making it into an invaluable educational hub.”
When completed the centre will be able to host school visits, public workshops and training sessions in traditional skills associated with milling.