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.
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)