Upminster Windmill’s ambitious sails project

UPMINSTER Windmill is undergoing its most ambitious restoration to date.

The windmill’s sails have not been moved for 60 years, but campaign group Friends of Upminster Windmill will be carrying out restoration work in an attempt to allow the sails to be able to turn freely.

They discovered that the mechanism that rotates the entire cap has become distorted over time and is higher on one side.

They are aiming to level this and establish whether the cap can be turned fully at the structure at Mill Field in St Mary’s Lane.

The public will see the sails facing in different directions over the next few weeks.

If the group is successful they hope to turn the sails on their open days later this year.

Chairman of the group Dennis Coombes said: “We are currently doing some work because it is tilted. It should take about two or three works to complete. “The sails have not turned for thirty years, so this is tremendously exciting.

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“It will be a few weeks before we see any difference or know how successful it has been.”

Meanwhile campaigners are also seeking help to secure Lottery funding to stop the closure of the 200-year-old landmark building.

The Upminster Preservation Trust wants to replace the sails of the 200-year-old building in St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, as part of the �500k restoration.

The group said it was a race against time to get the work done as the mill was deteriorating.

They are also hoping to create an archive facility to house historic photographs and artifacts.

They hope to make an appeal to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year.

The group will be holding a number of open days at the windmill for the public to have a look around. Visitors will be given free guided tours on April 2, 3, 16 and 17, from 2pm to 5pm.