Wimbledon Windmill Museum has announced it plans to reopen on Saturday 12 September, less than six weeks after one of the iconic landmark’s sails sheared off and smashed through its roof.
Since the Grade II* Listed structure lost a sail at about 6.45pm on Sunday 2 August, the building has been closed to visitors.
At the time, the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators – the body that is responsible for the fabric of the 198-year-old windmill – reported that the damage to the structure was substantial.
Fortunately, nobody was injured. The windmill had been closed to visitors because of the local road closures as part of the Prudential London Cycle Ride.
Investigations into the accident revealed that it was caused by water seeping into the sail, causing it to rot. But it has since been discovered that the windmill’s remaining timber is in remarkably good condition.
The three remaining sails have now been removed from the windmill and will undergo specialist repair and restoration later in the year.
Work to repair the roof and internal decoration got underway on 19 August, but is unlikely to include the restoration of Victorian chimney pots, which also sustained damage.
Conservators chairman Keith Luck says: “Once the initial repairs are completed and the Windmill has been made safe to allow it to reopen to visitors, the Conservators and the trustees of the museum will turn their thoughts to how best to fund the repairs to the sails and other necessary renovation.
“We are liaising with our insurers but it is possible that a fundraising appeal will be launched for this much-loved building.”
In April, the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators allocated £50,000 towards restoration works to the wooden tower, principally to stop water weakening the first floor roof. It now says that those works, which were planned to take place over the next couple of months, will be delayed while an assessment of the recent damage takes place.
The reopening of the windmill – minus its sails – will coincide with the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Open Day and Stables Open Day, which both take place on Sunday 13 September.
A brief history of Wimbledon Windmill
The hollow-post mill was built in 1817 by carpenter Charles March to serve local people who were still growing their own wheat. It only operated until 1864 when the machinery was removed and it was converted into residential accommodation.
It was bought by Earl Spencer, who at the time was the Lord Manor of Wimbledon, and used it as a section of the common.
Its restoration began in 1975 when architect and museum trustee Norman Plastow launched an appeal that raised £20,000. The windmill has been a museum since 1976 and displays different types of woodworking tools as well as demonstrating the different types of windmill that have been in action throughout the ages.
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Here at Robert Holmes, we were very upset to learn of the damage to Wimbledon’s iconic windmill and see its sails disappear from the common’s skyline. We are confident the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators and Trustees of the Museum will succeed in their bid to restore the building in as shortest time possible.
In the meantime, if you want to achieve your own property sale, get in touch with our property professionals in Wimbledon Village. We are experiencing an upturn in demand for homes in Wimbledon Village and the surrounding areas. If you are considering listing your property, contact our sales team immediately. Time is running out if you want to be on the move before Christmas.
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