Having been to the stunning church, we went to Heckington windmill – a unique eight-sail windmill beside the station, signal box and level crossing (though I still think the new H&S-complaint signal is hideous). The ‘box is 1876 Great Northern Railway, and Grade II listed – photos here.
We had visited the mill in the early 90s – while at Lincoln Theological College we purchased a Lincoln Mills Passport and visited them all. I believe my family were the first to get their silver Dusty Miller badge. I can’t find a photo of it, and I must have lost the original – apparently Sussex had one too. Gareth aged about 4, knew more about mills than most people – and I think it was here that he told the miller how his mill worked. The mill’s website is here.
The mill was originally built in 1830 by Edward Ingledew of Gainsborough as a five-sailed mill. A severe thunderstorm blew off the cap and sails, and it was restored in 1892 by John Pocklington using a cap and eight sails from a windmill in Boston. It would be fascinating to know how they moved everything. The bricks from the Boston mill were used to build the mill house here – now a lovely safe. It worked until 1946, and was purchased by the County Council in 1953 and made safe. It was restored in 1986 and worked for 13 years – during which time we visited. There were major repairs in 2004, and more were needed by 2010. In 2013 they got a £1.4 million HLF grant, and have done major work. Just a shame that high winds in June this year mean more work is needed on the sails before she can work properly again.
What they have done is superb. A good car park with gravel surface, but with the plastic grid that keeps the stones in one place and means you can push a wheelchair. Accessible loo. Accessible brewery – hence the accessible loo. Accessible tea room in Miller’s House (with another accessible loo). Accessible welcome area and shop, disabled lift to the exhibition, and access to the ground floor of the mill. Julie thinks it is the first time she has got into the ground floor of a mill in her wheelchair – Esmé also thinks it is the first time she has been onto the ground floor of the mill. We did wonder, the good ladies at reception and myself, whether we could utilise the sack hoist and get her to the top … .
I had a climb and a photo – just a shame I couldn’t get out the top. A good welcome – HLF money very well spent.