KIBWORTH HARCOURT WINDMILL, LEICESTERSHIRE, 'AT RISK'?

SPAB (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) welcomes the inclusion of Kibworth Harcourt Windmill in Leicestershire on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register and hopes that this might prove to be the catalyst for positive steps forward in this important, but fragile building’s story.

Dating back to the 1700s or possibly even earlier, this is an outstanding example of a type of windmill known as a post mill. Surveys and monitoring of the building, carried out by SPAB, have shown that significant problems now exist with the structure hence its inclusion on the ‘At Risk’ register. In fact, SPAB suggested to Historic England that the mill should be mentioned hoping that through this publicity, support and donations might be generated for essential repairs.

SPAB Director Matthew Slocombe says: “Kibworth Harcourt Windmill is an important and rare survival. We have acted as its custodian since the 1930s and are actively seeking the best ways to secure its future. We view its inclusion on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register as a good way to highlight its current plight.”

The mill is of sufficient national importance to be both a Grade II*-listed building and a scheduled ancient monument. Its interior is covered with fascinating historic graffiti dating from the 18th century onwards.  It has not worked for a century, but the SPAB has ensured its care and maintenance, supported by a local management committee and volunteers.

Decay in the mill’s stocks (the spars which support the sails) meant that, last year, the sails had to be removed from the site and placed in safe storage. The Society has costed the work needed to remedy the mill’s significant repair problems and expects this to amount to over £200,000.  

Although SPAB has already pledged its own charitable funds towards this work, additional help from public bodies and private donors will be needed to secure essential repairs.

Kibworth Harcourt Windmill is not currently accessible. Although it is owned by SPAB it stands within private land in separate ownership over which there is no right of public access. Unfortunately, to a certain extent, the building has been a victim of this inaccessibility

The Society’s aim is to mend the mill gently and respectfully, allowing the possibility of occasional access and use.

Ends


Notes to Editors
The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. Its defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. For further information please contact: Kate Griffin SPAB press office 0207 456 0905 / Alison McClary, SPAB press office: 0207 456 0908  Email Kate@spab.org.uk  Alison@spab.org.uk SPAB is Britain’s oldest building conservation body. It was set up by William Morris to oppose the destructive restorations of the Victorian era and promote the alternative of “conservative repair”. By law it must be notified of applications to demolish listed buildings in England and Wales and comments on hundreds each year. Today its broad remit is to advise, educate and campaign.  The Society, a registered charity, also trains architects and craftspeople; produces a range of helpful publications and campaigns on issues affecting our built heritage.  Follow us on Twitter @SPAB1877