The SPAB and their Mills Section have embarked on a repair project at Kibworth Harcourt Mill, an outstanding historic post mill at Kibworth Harcourt in Leicestershire. In 1936, Merton College Oxford, who owned the mill at that time, asked that the SPAB be responsible for the mill and maintain it. The majority of the mill dates back to 1711 or earlier and its interior is covered with the graffiti of millers who’ve worked there in the past. Classified as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II* listed building, Kibworth is the only surviving post mill in Leicestershire so it stands as an important part of local and national milling heritage.
Work on the post mill is due to commence in August 2021, preliminary site visits have been made in order for the millwrights, Dorothea Restorations, to prepare for the lifting up of the body the mill so work can be done on the trestle. Following this, new weatherboarding to match the original wider boards will be fitted and painted white, carefully keeping the original interior weatherboarding, and retaining all the original graffiti. New common and spring sails will be made at the millwright's workshop in Bristol. There will also be new exterior steps and tailpole fitted. Work to the internal machinery will be also be done. At the end of the six-month project, the new sails will be fully operational, and the mill will once again be able to turn 360 degrees on its turning circle.
Careful consideration has been taken throughout the initial planning stages to ensure the mill at the end of the project will look like its former self, with a white body and sails, black sheeted roof to the mill and roundhouse. We also hope to reinstate the beautiful curved tail pole, dependent on a suitable tree being sourced. Regular updates will be posted as work progresses. The SPAB Millwright Fellow will also be working on the repair of the mill.
Preliminary work has been taking place since the start of this year. Confirming Scheduled Ancient Monument consent from Historic England, a full engineering report, 3D survey of the mill by Terra Measurement, micro drilling of the main post, a bat survey and an investigation of the graffiti by buildings archaeologist James Wright of Triskele Heritage. The engineer in charge of the project is Naomi Hatton, a previous SPAB Scholar, along with Luke Bonwick, technical adviser, who has also provided the drawings for the millwright to work from. Jonny Garlick from the SPAB technical team is responsible for everything running smoothly. Mildred Cookson and Silvia McMenmain the Mills Administrator will be very much involved in the whole project and populating the web site regularly.
Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, and the mill being on private ground, visits by members of the public are not allowed at the moment. Keep an eye on our website for when restrictions are lifted and when you can make an appointment for a visit.
Through the SPAB’s repair, the mill will become operational for the first time since the 1930s. The work will be costly and is only possible through a generous legacy left to the SPAB for mill repair. Further donations are sought to ensure this project can be completed. If you are able to help the SPAB Mills Section to fund repairs for Windmill and Watermills please donate to the Mill Repair Fund.