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Bourn Windmill reopens after three years following extensive work to prevent collapse

The UK’s oldest windmill has reopened after three years following “significant and expensive” work to prevent a possible collapse.

Members of Cambourne Soul youth group help turn the mill in Bourn. Picture: Matthew Power Photography
Members of Cambourne Soul youth group help turn the mill in Bourn. Picture: Matthew Power Photography

Bourn Windmill was closed in early 2020 when extensive rot was discovered in the beams that support the mill. It was placed on the Heritage at Risk list.

The local community and charity Cambridge Past, Present and Future, who own the mill, have spent the past three years saving it.

Their work was supported by a number of funders including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, The Pilgrim Trust and SPAB Mills.

Graham Bruce, joint chair of Bourn Windmill Volunteers, said: “It is great to have the mill fully restored, especially as it has now been confirmed as the oldest windmill in the country. I, along with the rest of the team, are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the mill on the open days this year.”

Volunteers and supporters are attending the official reopening of the mill today (Wednesday, April 19). Visitor open days at Bourn Windmill will resume on National Mills Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, May 13-14.

The repair work has been a significant and expensive project which was carried out by a team of specialist experts.

The main body of the mill had to be suspended in mid-air for six months whilst the huge supporting structures were removed and replaced.

Cambridge PPF chief executive James Littlewood said: “I am so pleased that we have been able to save this special building which was built during the reign of King Henry III. It is not just a building that looks nice, it’s an ancient machine with lots of moving parts.

“Due to its relatively small size, people can have a go at turning the mill themselves or being inside whilst it is turning – this is an amazing and unforgettable experience which visitors can enjoy once again.”

Mr Littlewood also praised Historic England for their support. He said: “The skilled craftsmen have done an amazing job in weather ranging from blistering 40C to freezing -10C. The mill volunteers have been wonderful at raising awareness of the mill’s plight and helping to encourage donations. The mill owes them all a debt of thanks.”

Visit cambridgeppf.org.

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