Brixton Windmill has been reopened to the public after a major restoration project.
The windmill reopened for the first time on the May Day bank holiday, the culmination of a number of years of hard work by local people and the council.
Up to 2,000 people, including the Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Christiana Valcarcel, celebrated by joining a parade which included steel and salsa bands, actors from the Brixton Windmill Theatre Group, a stilt-walker, a model windmill on a float, and lots of children and adults in fancy dress and flowered hats.
The Grade II listed building, near Blenheim Gardens, is the only surviving windmill in inner London. Built in 1816, it was owned by milling family, the Ashbys of Brixton Hill until Joshua Ashby died aged 77. The Provender Mill ceased production in 1934. The London County Council purchased the land and the windmill in 1957.
Residents’ action group, the Friends of Windmill Gardens was established in 2003 with the aim of restoring the Windmill and transforming the surrounding park into an area that will be valued by all the community.
The Friends and Lambeth Council secured a grant of £397,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help restore the windmill. The council also contributed £55,130 as well as ongoing maintenance of the mill, and the Friends raised £2,000 along with non-contributions valued at £126,392. Work on the restoration began in October 2010.
Fundraising activities organised by the Friends have included a summer festival, five-a-side football tournaments and concerts. They recently planted a herb garden and will be growing barley and wheat to be ground in the mill which will be turned into Brixton flour.
Cllr Florence Nosegbe, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and the 2012 Games, added: “This just shows what fantastic results can be achieved by the local community and the council working in partnership. The restored Windmill will provide a wonderful addition to the many cultural and heritage sites Brixton has to offer and I want to pay tribute to local residents for making this happen.”
Jean Kerrigan, Chair of Friends of Windmill Gardens, said: “I am so proud of everyone who has made this project such a success. Once the mill is open again, a programme of educational activities will be organised and interpretation materials installed to explain the heritage of the site.”
Brixton Windmill will be open to the public from 2pm to 4pm on the following dates:
- Saturday 14 May
- Sunday 15 May
- Sunday 12 June
- Sunday 10 July
- Sunday 14 August
- Sunday 11 September
- Sunday 9 October
The windmill is situated in a small park, Windmill Gardens, at the west end of Blenheim Gardens, off Brixton Hill, London SW2.
See http://www.brixtonwindmill.org for more.