Restoration       

Wilton Windmill
Wilton
Near Marlborough
Wiltshire
SN8 3SW

After the mill closed in the early 1920′s the mill fell into disrepair, and it wasn’t until the 1960′s that the mill was recognised as an important local building.  This resulted in the mill being listed as a Grade II Building of Special Architectural and Historic Interest.

 

The Restoration Team

Wiltshire Council purchased the mill in 1971, and leased the building to the Wiltshire Historic Building Trust so that they could restore the mill to its former glory. The initial restoration started in early 1972, with the removal of the cap, fantail and related components.

The Cap

The removal of the Cap was a slow process as it was important not to cause any further damage to the metalwork or brickwork.  The cog ring was removed by crane. Each piece was labelled so that duplicates could be made.  A few of the metal items such as the wheel bearings and worm gear were used to create patterns, so that new ones can be made in the future.

All of the cap ribs were in perfect condition and required only a wire brush and a fresh coat of paint.  When the first repairs were undertaken in 1974 / 75, it was decided to replace the original wrought iron sheet covering the cap with 20g aluminium sheet. The original iron ribs were multi drilled to fit the sheets. It turned out to be a poor decision and when further major repairs were undertaken some years later, the cap was reverted back to wrought iron. Because this material had not been produced for 80-100 years, the old wrought iron was re-processed in Yorkshire to sheet form and profile rolled to fit the cap ribs. The mill cap has therefore been returned to its correct form and painted with four coats of lead paint. The sheets are fixed by riveting in the original holes.

General Condition

The majority of the iron work was found to be in good condition, however almost all the wood had completely rotted.  In spite of this, the team was able to preserve the sack hoist and brake lever, both of which can be seen in the mill today.  English oak was used for the beams and elm for the mill flooring.  Structurally the mill was in fair shape, however the brickwork at the top of the mill required replacement with a set of common sails and a set of patents sails as the originals had completely disintegrated.

The Fan Tail

The cap consists of a number of elements and in this picture you can see the Fan Tail assembly being constructed on the ground.  Worth noting here is the size of the timbers and the cap frame which can be seen in the background.

After The Restoration

The mill was fully operational by 1976 by which time the restoration had cost the princely sum of £25,833.  Following the restoration, the Wilton Windmill Society was formed to take on responsibility for the running and management of the mill.  A team of millers regularly mills wheat, producing flour for sale in the mill Shepherd's Hut Shop as well as other local retail outlets.

The mill has been returned to its former glory and fulfils its role as a fully operational windmill to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Mill Stones

The final part of the restoration was the purchase of a new set of stones, still in use today.  The original stones can be seen around the base of the mill.  The old runner was used to create the door step for the main entrance.

 

 

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