Brixton Windmill is to be opened up to the public after an announcement that a bid for almost £400,000 to restore it had been successful.
Local residents have been campaigning with Lambeth Council for a number of years to have the building restored, and this week the Heritage Lottery Fund approved a cash injection that will ensure it is maintained for future generations.
The windmill is the only surviving windmill in inner London and dates from 1816.
Jean Kerrigan, of Friends of Windmill Gardens, said that residents had been working for a number of years to secure the Windmill’s future.
“This is tremendous news and we are so excited that all of our hard work has been rewarded and that generations to come will benefit from the restoration of this unique landmark. Friends of Windmill Gardens began in 2003 but some of our members have been working on this project for more than a decade.
We would really like to thank our friends and the community in Brixton, as well as Lambeth Council for the support and help they have given us in taking this meaningful project to the next stage. Brixton Windmill now has a glorious future for generations to come.”
The windmill is an unusual Grade II* listed building and one of only two such structures surviving in the old County of London. Built in 1816, it was owned by successive generations of one family, Ashby and Sons, Millers of Brixton Hill, until it ceased production in 1934. Currently, the interior is not accessible to the public but this will be put right by the restoration.
A programme of educational activities will be organised and an audio-visual presentation on the ground floor will show the mechanical parts of the mill in operation.
Councillor Rachel Heywood, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member of Culture and Communities, added:
“It is fantastic that this long-awaited project is finally going to become a reality and this would not have happened without the energy and commitment of the Friends of Windmill Gardens. The Brixton Windmill is the sole surviving windmill in inner London and it has a unique social, environmental and economic history and was an integral part of 19th century technology, therefore it is crucial that its story is told and shared.
“I’d really like to pay tribute to all those local residents who have made this a reality. The restored Windmill will become a central attraction for culture and heritage education in Brixton, Lambeth and London overall.”
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) confirmed grants worth £4.4million for seven key heritage projects in seven boroughs across the capital.
Wesley Kerr, Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for London said:
“This astonishing array of places and projects reminds us that London is steeped in history. These awards will make that history more accessible to millions of people by broadening horizons and opening opportunities. We are thrilled to support these projects which demonstrate how central heritage is to London’s economy and spirit in all its wonderful immensity.”
All friends and supporters of the Windmill are invited to the next FOWG general meeting on Tuesday March 30 at 7pm at St Saviour’s Community Centre, Blenheim Gardens.
The total cost of the project is £581,000. The HLF has contributed £397,750 with the remainder coming from the council and the Friends of Windmill Gardens.