Plain sailing as windmill’s revamp completed

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NEW life has been breathed into an 18th century windmill in York after the final sail was lifted into place yesterday marking the end of a £550,000 community restoration project.

The five blades, which are 35ft long and each weigh a tonne, have transformed the historic grade II building in Holgate and added a new dimension to the city’s skyline.

It is a major milestone for the Holgate Windmill Preservation Society, which launched an ambitious scheme to restore York’s last surviving windmill in 2001.

The society’s chairman, Bob Anderton, said: “The society started planning this 10 years ago and we have been waiting for this day a long time. It now looks like a windmill again, which is the most important thing, and it’s absolutely marvellous.

“There are still one or two jobs to do inside the mill, but nothing major. We are hoping to open as a working mill for the first time in 80 years next Easter.”

The sails were funded by a £46,500 National Lottery grant after the project topped a phone poll. They were delivered by Lincolnshire-based millwright Tom Davies earlier this week, but bad weather meant only two could be lifted into position by crane on Monday.

However, the remaining three were finally fitted yesterday.

The mill was built in about 1770 on a site about two miles west of York city centre.

But milling ceased in 1933 and the building became semi-derelict as York’s expanding suburbs gradually surrounded it.

Flour will be produced from locally-grown grain when the restoration work is fully completed.

Mr Anderton said: “The mill is now highly visible across the city and makes a super addition to York’s already interesting skyline.”