Work sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund

After 8 years of active restoration the sails were finally fitted to Holgate Windmill in late spring 2012. From the outside the mill then looked complete. In fact there was still much to be done to achieve the Society’s aim of operating both a working windmill and a visitor attraction. The restoration had been funded by grant income; operation had to be self-sustaining.

In May 2012 Heritage Lottery Fund approved our application for £50,000 to carry out these works:

  • Put into working order the governor mechanism which regulates the height of the runner stone and ensures consistent flour production;
  • Render functional the striking gear which allows the sail shutters to adjust automatically to variable wind speed;
  • Install guards and barriers throughout the mill to create a safe environment for milling, maintenance and for visitors;
  • Install facilities on the ground floor to cater for flour production and bagging as well as receiving visitors and displaying educational materials and merchandise;
  • Install lead rain gutters above the doors and ground floor windows;
  • Set up an audio-visual display on the ground floor for visitors who are unable to climb the steep stairs to the upper floors;
  • Publish a guide book to the mill and install interpretative panels on each floor explaining how the mill works;
  • Train members of the Society as volunteer millers.

Thanks to this funding in 2013 Holgate Windmill began to mill flour for public consumption for the first time in 80 years. Visitors have been able to see not just the sails turning but, wind permitting, to hear the mill stones working, watch the grain dropping into the eye of the stone and see flour falling down the spout into the sack. The mill has been awarded a 5 star rating by York’s Department of Environmental Health. Numerous school parties and other interested groups have been able to visit a unique example of Britain’s industrial heritage.

Close-up of the governor drive belt in situ. The millwright returned this vital piece of machinery to working order through HLF funding.

The governor in operation.

The mechanism for engaging the striking gear: the challenging task of making this unique system work was funded by HLF.

HLF funding enabled us to put lead drips over the doorways and ground floor windows (here shown with the York Design Awards plaque mounted above the main entrance).

The display units and the on the ground floor of the mill were purchased with funds from our HLF grant.

Installation of the wash hand basin, funded by HLF, permitted us to start bagging flour for sale to the public.

The view up into the cap through the glass floor. Public access to the cap is not permitted but HLF funding allowed us to realise our dream of offering visitors sight of its construction and inner workings

Guarding to the stone nut for the wind driven stones, one of the many items ensuring safety of visitors and volunteers put in place with HLF funding.

The cover of the Holgate Windmill guide book, which was published by HWPS with HLF funding

The HLF grant enabled us to celebrate the return of Holgate Windmill to full working order with a Grand Opening. Here York Waits lead the mayoral procession up to the mill.
The Lord Mayor cutting the ribbon to declare the mill open.

Attractive and informative panels on each floor explaining the workings of the mill were installed thanks to the HLF grant. (Click on thumbnail images for larger picture)