Further to Lifting the Cap back in place, last Wednesday we needed to move two sails into a position ready for their forthcoming installation back onto the Windmill.
Not for the first time we were expertly assisted in this delicate task by J C Balls and Sons of Ambergate using their large Lorry Loader Crane operated skillfully by Alan the driver.
They have frequently helped us in the past and completely free of charge.
As a Charity it’s a pleasant feeling to be given this type of assistance by a local company who obviously have a strong interest in the preservation of local attractions such as Heage Windmill. We are very grateful for this help as we would find it both difficult and expensive to obtain it elsewhere.
Our sincere thanks to all at JC Balls & Sons from everyone at Heage Windmill.
Heage Windmill is looking more like herself again as the two new sails were hoisted into position on the morning of the 6th November.
The weather was calm which was perfect for the task.
These two sails were assembled by the maintenance team under the skilful leadership of David Land, the Maintenance Manager.
The project has taken approximately 750 hours of volunteer labour.
Nicholls Engineering of Heage were on site helping the team both when the old sails were removed and when the two new ones were attached.
The firm have great experience in engineering projects and have worked on Heage Windmill before, so sincere thanks are extended to them.
Constructional Timber of Barnsley supplied and delivered the laminated pieces of wood (84 in total) for the sails.
These arrived at Heage Windmill back in the spring and the team have spent the summer assembling the new sails.
This included coating all the pieces with sealer followed by undercoating and glossing – 2 coats of each. The shutters were removed from the old sails, washed, repainted and transferred to the new ones.
Alan Eccleston, Chair of the Trust, said that the Trustees wished to thank the dedicated team of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make this possible.
Our windmills two replacement sails are now scheduled to be up and turning by the end of September.
The story so far… Having found that two sails at Heage windmill needed to be replaced due to wood rot, the Trust made enquires seeking replacements. There are few millwrights able to carry out such work and our enquires showed that the cost would be around £60,000 and delivery would be about 2 years. This was not acceptable to the Trust as we wished to return to our normal 6 sail display as soon as possible.
The volunteers at the mill felt they were capable of making the replacements themselves and that we were able to obtain suitable pre-cut wooden members from Constructional Timber of Barnsley for less than a third of the above quote. The two offending sails, weighing approximately 1 tonne each, were taken off and the part time work of assembling the new timber into sails was undertaken ‘in house’. We found that no less than 84 pieces were needed for the pair of sails. Also, each piece had to have any knots treated. They pieces were then coated with sealer, carefully painted and assembled in a predetermined sequence.
The team agreed to carry out the work in our marquee on site and aimed to ensure work was carried out on a minimum of two full mornings a week. To date, some 400 working hours have been expended and much experience gained.
In parallel, all the iron fittings from the old sails were removed and re-painted and the 40+ shutters washed and cleaned prior to them being transferred to the new sails. The first replacement sail (sail E) currently has all the sail bars and the frame in place and will soon be ready to accept the fitting of the 21 shutters taken from the old sail. Due to space limitations, work on the second sail (sail B) could not start at the same time but presently the stage of sail E is such that the sail bays could be turned upright, creating enough space for the second sail to be started. Presently the angled sail bars are being fitted and work will continue in parallel.
Due to weather and holiday limitations we are expecting to be able to complete the assembly of the pair by the end of September and aim to fit them back soon after.
The cost of the work is being covered by money taken from the mill maintenance fund of Heage Windmill Society but, of course, donations will be most welcome as the cost is estimated at some £20,000 for materials alone. We are continuing to mill flour with four sails and our normal range of flour is still on sale at the mill.
Floral displays, choral singing and a ‘triumphant’ array of cars made the last weekend of June a memorable one at Heage Windmill.
This particular weekend sees the traditional flower festival at neighbouring St Luke’s church which the Friends of the mill continue to support by decorating not only one of the church windows but also the interior of the windmill.
All types of containers were brought into use and there were floral displays all over the windmill. They were much appreciated by our visitors and amongst the comments was: ‘A perfect match of containers and flowers for a windmill – Royal Horticultural Society watch out!’
Saturday also saw the Derventio Choir from Derby give a musical concert, entertaining us with a wide variety of songs, ranging from folk tunes to big show songs. They were much appreciated by all present.
To round off an excellent weekend we had a visit from the Derwent Valley Triumph Sports Six club which was celebrating its 25th anniversary.
They brought almost 50 cars of assorted Triumph models over the years, with a range of colours sufficient to match the flowers!
Several awards were made with the club presenting the ‘Best in Show’ trophy to the Triumph Renown (made 1949 to 1954), a ‘big brother’ to the Mayflower model. These cars were much enjoyed by all the people on site.
In recognition of bringing Tractor Days to Heage Windmill, John Allsop was invited to officially open the mill for our 2019 season.
In what was probably the warmest opening day since the windmill was restored in 2002, John made his entrance in fitting fashion by driving his Fordson Tractor down the track to the windmill, escorted by two other tractors, driven by local men David Hornsey and John Gould.
They were welcomed by a large gathering of people , including Alan Eccleston, Chairman of Heage Windmill Society, and Cllr. Angela Ward, Chair of Friends of the Windmill.
Alan welcomed everyone present and thanked in particular the team of volunteers who make the mill such a great attraction.
He introduced John Allsop, who was born and bred in Heage and has had a long standing love of the mill. It was John who, many years ago, suggested he organised a tractor rally at the mill. This has blossomed into memorable and well-supported Tractor Days which have greatly helped support the mill.
Angela spoke on behalf of Friends and mentioned the continuing need for more volunteers to help maintain the high standards set at the mill.
Alan then invited John to cut the yellow ribbon. In doing so doing, he said he sincerely hoped the mill would enjoy a great season and that that weather would be kind throughout.
It was a cool, but a mostly sunny day, with just enough wind to gently turn the windmill sails, when the first organised visit by Morgan Sports Cars club arrived at Heage Windmill on Sunday April 14th.
Some 30 cars, in a wide variety of colours and models, were displayed on the apron in front of the working windmill and were much admired by the many visitors to the site.
We learnt that Morgan cars were founded in 1909, and have since achieved fame throughout the world due to their unique blend of charisma, craftsmanship and performance and it was easy to see why they were so well loved by their enthusiastic owners.
The Morgan Motor Company, based in Malvern, has evolved over 100 years into a true icon, a darling of the automotive industry and a brand synonymous with unrivalled excitement. The cars displayed true British craftsmanship and their owners are justly proud of their vehicles, regardless of their age.
This Sunday, Heage Windmill will again be visited by a large collection of vintage Tractors.
These machines displaced the horse as the motive power for farms and similar activities and now they are themselves being regarded as ‘collectables’. They will stand displayed adjacent to our 222-year-old wind machine!
Tractors will include 60-year-old Fordsons and Massey Fergusons. John Allsop, who organises the Tractor group, said: ‘We are always happy to come to the windmill’.
The tractors will be supported by some stalls, including a burger van and, if the weather permits, our now quite famous bric-a-brac stall, where one person’s junk becomes someone else’s treasure!
The tractors will arrive from about 10-30 am and will be with us until around 3-30. The mill will, of course, be open for guided tours.
All funds raised will go to the upkeep of the Mill.
Did you know that Heage Windmill has signed up with Easy Fund Raising?
What it means is that every time you – our supporters – use the internet for shopping a small donation will be donated, free of charge to the windmill’s funds. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s happening, and it’s working – so far, we have received over £250!
It’s very easy to use. If you follow the link below you can sign up and then help us, with contributions being made from most major online shopping outlets when you make your purchase.
When you shop online, you first click on the Easy Fund-Raising logo which will appear on your phone or other device, and find the outlet you want to use. Then, when you make your purchase, the companies that participate will automatically make a small donation which is paid directly to the mill.
Sunday 2nd December dawned cloudy and a bit damp, but mostly dry and mild. This was important because Santa Claus was coming to Heage Windmill and duly arrived at 11.00 am on a motorised sledge, (kindly loaned by Amber Valley Rotary Club) to be greeted by a crowd of happy and excited youngsters.
Helped by the mill’s head Elf (Lynn Allen), Santa soon made himself comfortable in his grotto on the ground floor of the windmill.
The excited children were able to see Santa in turn (as result of a numbered ticket scheme which worked very well) and during his visit he saw over 130 children, each of whom received a specially
wrapped present from Santa. As he rested afterwards he said ‘They were the best set of children I have seen this year!’
During the day over 500 visitors came to the mill and enjoyed the entertainments and refreshments available in the nearby marquee, and in the mill undercroft.
To pass the time waiting to see Santa, there were various games to play, raffles and food, including a very popular hot food van providing a range of food to suit all tastes.
They were also entertained by members of the Notts and Derby Rock Choir , suitably bedecked in Santa hats, who sang many seasonal songs.
Heage Windmill is open every Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from April to the end of October, 11am to 4pm. For Admission Prices, Details of Group and School Visits and Where to Find us, click here >
Please note the wind speed. If it is more than 5 or 6 mph, then normally the sails will be turning.
Heage Windmill is owned by Derbyshire CC but is controlled and operated by Heage Windmill Society, a charitable organisation (Reg Charity No 1065980), to whom all profits from running the windmill are donated by the Friends to help ensure its continued preservation