Restoration of historic Lincolnshire windmill reaches a 'major milestone'

A ‘major milestone’ has been reached in the restoration of an historic windmill near Boston.

The cap is lowered onto the tower of Sibsey Trader Windmill.
The cap is lowered onto the tower of Sibsey Trader Windmill.

Sibsey Trader Windmill - one of England’s last remaining six-sailed mills - has been fitted with a brand new cap and fantail as part of ongoing restoration by English Heritage.

Recent works have also included the restoration of the tower, with plans to install newly-contructed sails this summer – helping to see the mill returned to working order.

The mill was constructed in 1877 as is considered to be one of the country’s most important, historic mills.

The works have been described as a 'major milestone'.

A spokes person for English Heritage said: “The installation of the new cap is a major milestone in the windmill’s ongoing restoration. The charity is investing in the mill to bring it back into working order, and protect its historic fabric for the future.”

Alex Sydney, English Heritage’s Property Development Director, said: “This project is a great example of the work English Heritage is doing at hundreds of sites across the country, not only in caring for and restoring important historic buildings but also supporting dying skills. Mills of the kind have been beacons of the rural economy for centuries and, with only very few remaining, it is vital to preserve this iconic part of England’s rural history.

“As a charity, we are committed to working with communities to support skills training and the continuation of traditional crafts. Keeping the mill in good working order not only preserves the structure, but also the traditional skills of milling and millwrighting – which are both very much in decline nationally.”

The new cap, which was crafted and installed by expert millwright Tim Whiting, is made from solid English oak and western red cedar. As the old cap had been modified so many times over the years, the team used historic photographs of the windmill to replicate the original cap.

The new windmill cap has been made out of English oak and western red cedar.

In addition to the replacement cap, English Heritage has completely restored the tower of the windmill. The charity has cleaned off the tower’s impermeable black coal tar coating, which was causing issues with damp, and fully repointed the windmill’s attractive red brick. New sails have also been constructed and will be installed later this summer.

Tim Whiting, the millwright contracted by English Heritage, added: “This is a wonderful project to work on. I’m delighted that the cap fitted on the first attempt as, with the tower having been newly restored and it receiving a brand new cap curb and a new cap, we were working with three components that had never been put together. I’m extremely proud of the whole team for their work in installing the cap and am looking forward to adding the six sails in due course.”

The team used historic photographs of the windmill to replicate the original cap.
If the cap fits: The crane carefully lifts the new windmill cap into place.