These notes are not intended as Minutes and do not report on each Meeting held. The aim is to give an observer's view of significant points as progress is made.
Work has continued on the tail structure where the wood has been stripped of the old paint prior to treating with preservative and re-painting. Some pieces of the ironwork have been found to be beyond repair and an engineering company has been found in Sawston to remove the axle from one of the carriage wheels and replace with a new one. They are prepared to do this by just charging labour with no overheads. One of the long upright cog drives has also rotted so a new shaft of carbon steel is needed. Bill has also included in his quote the renewal of some bronze bearings which he would normally outsource from a company in Ipswich, but he has suggested that these could also be done by the Sawston company if they are able to do what is required. MD made the point that obviously the work must be done without damaging the casting and providing they were confident of doing this then he would be happy with taking this route.
The mill wright continues to work on the windmill tail and regular updates show the work is going well.
It is understood that the mound on which the windmill is mounted must be respected but some flattening of the ground beyond this is possible and a suitable place will be found to position the bench donated in memory of Jim Brearley.
The Craft Fair in December raised £800 (less expenses) with Bob Hatt's apple juice selling well and the clock carved by David Brearley raising £96 through the sale of raffle tickets. Stocks of the windmill tea towels and jotter pads together with bird boxes, shoe last doorstops and further items of David Brearley's carvings from wood salvaged from the windmill are available for the windmill grand re-opening (Saturday 8th June 2019).
The initial response to the standing order flyer has been good with £1306 (£1632 with gift aid) pledged per annum.
Planning for the grand re-opening has started. Parking will be at the Village Hall with a bus to take people to the windmill. The mill will be open (ground floor only) for tours and to view artefacts and following the 'official re-opening' there will be refreshments back at the Village Hall.
In preparation of the windmill for visitors a cabinet will be made to house the detectorists' finds. The names of individuals who have sponsored a board will be displayed and the grants provided by Historic England and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings will be recognised. Other groups who have contributed to the restoration will be properly thanked. There will be boards giving details of the history and restoration of the mill.
March 2019 (AGM and meeting)
Hazel Hayden (Chair of the Great Chishill Windmill Trust) summarised the progress made during the last year. The committee had had several new members and a further Trustee was appointed. Gift Aid and Grant funding from SPAB had been received and funds also provided from the Great and Little Chishill Parish Council and a donation received from Barley Parish Council. There are sufficient funds to complete the current restoration work to make the windmill safe and enable it to be taken off the Heritage at Risk Register. Ongoing means of finance are being explored to cover annual expenses but additional finances will need to be sought if the mill is to progress to full working order.
The Trust has 141 Friends of the Windmill with whom it is in direct email contact. The website attracts around 200 visitors per week with over 600-page views.
Restoration work has progressed well throughout the year with work on the main body, the buck, having been completed with the painting of the new western red cedar boards and flashing to the edges. A new ‘striking rod’, well over 8 metres long, was fitted before the scaffolding came down to reveal the result of all this work. Volunteers have been busy repairing and painting the sails which now await re-fitting, which will be the last piece of the jigsaw.
Listed Building consent was granted for work on the tail assembly and stair access. Historic England agreed to the use of the balance of their grant for the completion of this work in the interest of visitor safety for which the Trust was very grateful. The tail assembly and carriage have been removed and are being worked on by volunteers and by the millwright, before being re-assembled before the grand re-opening on Saturday 8th June. Work has been done on the windmill site with the track (for the tailfan wheels) having been dug out and filled with hard core.
Standing order donors will provide an annual equivalent income of nearly £2000 including Gift Aid. Hopefully more people may sign up at the re-opening. The sponsor a board appeal had raised nearly £19,000 and the names of the sponsors will be displayed at the re-opening.
Plans are progressing well for the re-opening with the sub-committee organising a portable toilet, catering, drinks, raffle prizes and a photographer. There will be information boards both at the windmill and in the Great Chishill Village Hall where tea will be served after the opening. A display cabinet is being made to hold various mill related artefacts and items found by the detectorists.
News - June 2019
The grand re-opening of the windmill took place on Saturday 8th June. The weather started off fairly grim but brightened in time for the afternoon's events. The windmill looked magnificent in the afternoon sun. A stiff breeze caused the bunting, fixed to the ends of the sails, to form a circle as if the sails were turning. A shuttle bus brought people from the Village Hall and drinks were served to the 200+ attendees. Short speeches were given by Hazel Hayden, chairperson of the Windmill Trust, Trudi Hughes of English Heritage who announced that the windmill had now been taken off the Heritage at Risk Register and by David McKeown who project managed the restoration and gave further details of the restoration and thanked Historic England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. MillBill millwright services and all of the volunteers who had helped restore the windmill. He invited the Brearley family to unveil a bench in memory of Jim Brearley who together with Jeff Gill had formed the Windmill Trust in 2012. He then introduced the Special Guest, Sam Smith the singer, who moved to the Village in 1995. Sam gave a short speech saying that he was delighted to be back in Chishill, the village where he grew up and that he had many fond memories of his time as a kid running through the fields around the windmill. He then cut the ribbon to officially re-open the restored windmill.
The crowd then made their way back to the village hall where a sumptuous tea was provided. For more information and photographs click here.
November 2019 - Trust meeting
75 copies of the book of sponsors had been sold raising £288.
The Great Chishill Windmill Trust has applied to become a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) which if approved will remove the need to send accounts to the Charity Commission and thereby eliminate a significant accounting cost.
Bill Griffiths (the Millwright) estimates there is a proximately 4 weeks of work to complete the currently planned work to the mill. After this the mill will be capable of moving around the track. The work is planned for the spring. A quote will also be requested for him to repair the upper level floor of the mill.
This year's Craft Fair is on 7th December and the Trust will have a stall selling windmill related and other items. The Trust will also decorate a Christmas Tree for the St Swithun's Festival with a theme for the tree of 'While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night'
The Trust plans to produce a comprehensive manual covering all aspects of the mill as a guide to future custodians of the mill.
Four individuals have volunteered to act as tour guides for the windmill and David McKeown has produced guider's notes to assist them. A briefing visit to the mill for the guides is planned for January. Tours will be advertised from Spring 2020. There will be no charge for tours but a collection box has now been placed inside the door of the windmill.
A mirror will be fixed to the entrance to the windmill car park to facilitate exiting the site.