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Upminster Windmil remains on Historic England's 'At Risk' register despite 'good progress'

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 October 2019

The Grade II listed Upminster Windmill as it stood in May 1989. Picture: Historic England

The Grade II listed Upminster Windmill as it stood in May 1989. Picture: Historic England

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Historic England has today (Thursday, October 17) revealed that Upminster Windmill will remain on its "Heritage at Risk in London" register, but has admitted "good progress" is being made on securing the site's long-term future.

The register is an annual snapshot of the critical health of the capital's most valued historic places, and those most at risk of being lost.

This year there are 12 fewer entries than in 2018 - 36 sites have been removed from last year's while only 26 new sites have been added - proving that London is moving in the right direction.

In total, this year's At Risk register reveals there are a total of 648 historically significant assets at in the capital currently in danger.

The Upminster Windmill in St Mary's Lane is one of those on the register that has been identified as being close to being removed from it entirely.

More than 200 years old, it was built by James Nokes, a local farmer, from 1803-05.

Grade II listed, it is considered to be amongst the very best remaining English smock mills.

The site once comprised 16 buildings including the windmill, a steam mill, a large mill house and two cottages.

Most of the buildings were in place by 1849.

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The milling business closed in 1935 and the site was purchased by Essex County Council in 1940, whose plan was to demolish the buildings and develop the site for housing.

Fortunately, a public outcry stopped the demolition.

Today the mill is run by volunteers, the Friends of Upminster Windmill, who began a major restoration project in 2015, including building a visitor centre, with principal funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The work is nearing completion, with the aim of reopening the working mill to the public in April 2020.

Emily Gee, Historic England's Regional Director for London and the South East, said: "Our heritage needs saving and investing in heritage pays - it helps to transform the places where we live, work and visit, creating successful and distinctive places for us and for future generations to enjoy.

"But there's more work to do.

"There are buildings still on the 'Heritage at Risk Register' that are ideal for rescue and capable of being brought back into meaningful use.

"These are the homes, shops, offices and cultural venues of the future."

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