WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL NEWS
An Ill-Wind Means
Mill Won't Open This Year
Visitors have lost
their chance for the annual visit to look at Chesterton Windmill, a
Warwickshire landmark dating back nearly 400 years.
The mill is seen from
the M40 by Barn Hill services and the Fosse Way, but people can
normally only go and have a look inside one weekend a year.
But even that will
not be possible this year as there is a problem with one of the sails
and the county council has cancelled the open day, which coincided
with the Heritage Open Days running across the country.
The mill was built
about 1633 and remained in use until 1910 when the machinery stopped
working, as the winch that turned the sails failed to operate and
milling became impossible.
It is a problem with
the sails that has blocked the planning opening for 16 and 17
An expert reported
one of the main timber sail supports was unsound. A structural
engineer will be taking a look later this week - but organisers have
already decided to cancel the annual Open Weekend, for safety's sake.
The county council
restored the mill from 1965-71 working with the Ministry of Public
Building and Works and the structure is now part of the Warwickshire
Museum, and the council needs to consult English Heritage if it wants
to make any alterations.
The mill is
structurally and mechanically unique. It is set on six pillars linked
by semi-circular arches. There used to a central timber structure in
the open space.
The mill machinery is
set on two floors, with the two pairs of millstones downstairs and the
driving mechanism above. The sails have a 60-feet span and carry 450
square feet of canvas.
Chris Jeens, head of
heritage and cultural services for Warwickshire County Council's
Libraries & Heritage department said:
be no chance of turning the sails.
“I know many
people look forward to the open weekend every year and will be
disappointed - but we think it safer to keep the public away from
Chesterton Windmill until the fault has been fully investigated and
any necessary repairs have been made."
The windmill, which
dates back to 1632, stands on land belonging to a local farmer. The
Open Weekend normally takes place in the short 'window' between
harvest and ploughing.
Council has spent more than £14,000 on Chesterton Windmill in the
past two years, including £2,000 on the installation of a lightning