Windmill with three workers standing in front carrying out repairs

The Avoncroft Windmill

Although the Windmill is not able to sail currently (October 2023), there is a lot of activity going on in and around the Windmill, Michael our Miller and volunteers Steve and Hugh are very busy.  So what is happening?

The Windmill is a typical West Midlands Postmill, dating from 1830 the entire upper structure called the Buck, pivots on a huge central Post. Designed so it could be turned single handily by the Miller, ensuring the sales face into the wind and generate the maximum possible power. Each pair of sales has an 18 m wide span and is attached to the wind shaft. As this rotates it powers a giant cog wheel that turns the mills stones inside the mill. The Windmill was dismantled in 1969 from its site in Danzy Green, Warwickshire in 6 weeks, the full restoration took 7 years including sourcing a replacement central post from Baxley Mill, also from Warwickshire the sails first turned in 1970 and first flour was produced in 1977.

The problem
So the Windmill has in recent years got harder to turn now taking some 5 strong individual to push its sails into the wind. This is due to the deterioration of the wooden round house rail that the caster wheels and in turn the Buck sits on (on top of the brick structure and under the wooden structure). This was never meant to be replaced it was designed to last the lifetime of the Windmill, (now extended as a rescued building).

The Answer
To repair the wooden ‘round house rail’ without lifting off the Buck, which was far too costly. This is where the skill and experience of our valued Windmill repair team including Mike Skoda our Miller and volunteers Steve Tibbetts and Hugh Huselbee came in to play.

The Solution
Following consultations, as dealing with a heritage structure is complicated and takes time. Our collections manager Steven Hearn gave the go ahead to the team to undertake the restoration. They have basically worked out how to replace the wooden rail in approximate 2-meter sections. To do this for each section they have to join 7 individual pieces of oak together, steam bending them into the exact curve, even making the tools such as the router box jig to do this, before they can be fitted in place.

Work in Progress
This is where the team are up to, they are fitting the new sections and working in minute detail to ensure that the casters run smoothly, checking the wind direction and weather conditions as they work. When I asked them how long will it take to complete, They predicted three months however this time frame has already been affected by the weather and other unknowns.

The Cost
We have been very grateful to the Rotary Club of Bromsgrove
who have made a generous donation that is helping with the costs, however as you can appreciate each week turns up new costs, as the Windmill is expensive to run and conserve, therefore if you would like to donate please do here:

Sailing Again Day
Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook or join our newsletter, just scroll to the footer on this page to keep updated, as we will announce when we are Sailing again.

In the meantime of course the Windmill is still open to the public most Wednesday and Saturdays and on open days it is always available to see in the Windmill Filed in all its glory, seeing it in real life is quiet an experience and one you wont easily forget.