New sails for historic windmill at Kibworth Harcourt

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Some good news to end the week! The sails are back on our 18th-century windmill at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire. This is a huge milestone in the project to bring this fragile and beautiful mill back into good repair.

It’s wonderful to see our mill free of scaffolding and a new tail ladder and sails in place.

Our specialists working to install the sails. Credit: SPAB

It’s been quite a journey so far. Last year, the enormous 15-tonne buck (body of the mill) was lifted onto a temporary steel support framework for the repairs to the delicate oak trestle. We also added a new VM Zinc roof on the buck and roundhouse and repaired the weatherboarding and internal machinery. The roundhouse brick pier repairs will be completed this summer using a locally-sourced lime mortar.

Kibworth Harcourt mill has been owned by the SPAB since the 1930s, but it’s been a fragile condition for many years. It is thanks to a generous bequest that we can repair this Grade II* mill and provide a traineeship in millwrighting, an endangered craft.

We’re hugely grateful to everyone who has helped in the project this far, especially our main contractors, millwrights Dorothea Restoration Ltd.

Historic mills like this can tell us so much about the history of rural life and the generations of people who worked here. The interior of the mill is covered in hundreds of graffiti marks showing names, dates and ritual protection marks that reveal the hopes and anxieties of our ancestors.

Find out more about the project.

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