At 11am this morning I did not know that York had a windmill. I lived here until I moved down to Oxford for uni & not once have I caught sight or heard about a windmill. But there is one!
Its located between Boroughbridge Road & Acomb Road in the Holgate area of York. The windmill was built in 1770 & used until the 1930s. Apparently its a rare type of windmill as it had 5 sails, double shuttered & a fantail.
Eliza Gurt owned the windmill & the land that it was built on until the 1920s, at the time part of Holgate Lodge where she lived. She worked with the council to design a housing estate on the land & on her death the lodge was knocked down & the estate duly built. The windmill was given to the council so the people of York could enjoy it.
Not a lot happened between the 1930s and the 2000s when a group was formed to restore the windmill to its former glory.
Today was an open day in order to raise money for the windmill & gave people a chance to see in the inside of the windmill & all the work that’s been done.
I couldn’t get over how there was this windmill in the middle of a residential street, it was breath-taking!
Inside we got full access to the windmill, all four floors were opened up to the public. It was fascinating to see all the machinery, all simple but very effective & revolutionary at the time the windmill was built.
The top of the windmill spins around, guided by the fantail, so that the sails are always in the direction of the wind. The windmill got a new cap over the winter 2009/10 , but the fantail & sails aren’t completed yet, so it doesn’t actually do anything. This was good as we were able to get up right into the cap (as seen in the pic above) but by the end of next winter the fantail will be fitted and so the cap will be moving & the top floor inaccessible.
Going up steep ladders style steps was fine, but when it came to coming back down again…well it was an experience! Me & Mum took it slow and steady as it was more than a bit scary going down backwards – how a bloke carried his baby down I have no idea!
It was nice to have experts on hand from the preservation society to tell us all about the mill, and explained how it all works. I’d thoroughly recommend to anyone to go visit on their next open day, its well worth the £3!
For more details their website: http://www.holgatewindmill.org/