Santa Day

The dawning of December’s first day was chilly but welcomely dry and bright for the arrival of Santa Claus.

As he walked to his grotto in the mill, he told one small child how happy he was to see that all six sails were in place again!

He soon made himself comfortable in his grotto and during his visit saw over 140 children, each of whom received a specially wrapped present. The youngest one to see him was just 4 weeks old! Must be a record of some sort?

During the day at least 500 visitors came to the mill and enjoyed the entertainments and refreshments available in the nearby marquee and on site whilst they waited their turn for to meet the great man.

To pass the time while waiting to see Santa there were various things to do on site e.g. tombola, raffles, the bric-a-brac stall, and others. There was also the very popular hot food van plus a doughnut stall.

Angela Ward, Chair of the Friends of the Windmill said: ‘It’s been a great day, with every one of our volunteers working hard to make it a success.  All the profits will go to keeping the windmill working.’ Angela added that ‘it was a really festive occasion and so many people enjoyed themselves’.

 

A Milestone for our Milling

We are delighted to announce that our windmill has just taken delivery of its 50th ton of grain.

We have been milling grain in the traditional manner – between rotating stones, driven by the  wind – at Heage windmill since our first trial product emerged from the chute on the 4th of July 2003.

Then followed a series of trials and testing until we were ready to offer our products for sale at the windmill.

We ordered our first batch of grain to be used commercially in March 2004 and the demand for our product has grown steadily since then.

Our first sack of flour was milled by the late Mac Mumford and was bagged and sold on 28th of March 2004.

We only sell our flour at the mill or Bakewell Farmers’ Market, and all our milling is carried out by our specially trained volunteer millers.

We received the 50th ton of grain in 25 kilo sacks.  All  bags of our flour from this batch will carry a specially designed label marking that it comes from our 50th ton.

The 49 tons  of flour already produced  have resulted in a net  income over 15 years of about £50,000, at an average of about £3,500 a year.

All profits from the sale of flour have been used to help maintain the mill over the years.

We hope that Heage Windmill will continue to produce its much loved flour for many years to come.

 

Six Sails On

Photo by Andrew Evans of f22 Aerial Images

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.

Cobweb Day

Heage Windmill has now been put to bed following the ceremonial cobweb spinning.

A large cobweb is slowly spun in the apron in front of the mill, its size being determined entirely by the number of people, both grown-ups and youngsters, who take part in the spinning operation.

Under the guidance and tuition of our ‘head spider’ Lynn Allen, the cobweb – made from stretchy elastic – slowly emerges and then is gently laid close to the mill to ‘put her to sleep’ for the winter.

After appalling weather on the previous day ‘Cobweb day’ dawned fine and sunny and just over 50 people, of all ages, took part in weaving the web this year.

A web some 30 feet in diameter (one of our largest) slowly emerged, watched over by numerous onlookers on the mill apron. When completed,  the web was carried and gently laid on the nearby grass, where it gleamed in the sunshine.

Some people had been at previous web making events and we were pleased to welcome members from the ‘Coffee N Cars’ group of American car owners who visited the mill earlier in the season.  Hot drinks were popular and there were a large number who then enjoyed guided tours of the windmill.

Heage Windmill will reopen on the first weekend of April 2020 and our 222 year ‘Old Lady’ can now enjoy some peace and quiet.

However, the mill will open throughout the winter months on the second Saturday of each month for the sale of flour only (no  tours) from 10 am  to 1-00 pm and of course, Santa is coming on Sunday December 1st and will be with us from 11 am until 3-00 pm.  More information on this nearer the time.

Classic Bikes ‘a memorable day’

Well over 200 classic motor bikes came to Heage Windmill in what was their second visit of 2019.  The weather was exceptionally kind with lots of bright sunshine and the crowds flocked in to enjoy both the bikes and the mill.

The bikes were of all types, ranging from tourers to out-and-out racers, and included many well known makes such as BSA, Honda, Royal Enfield, Triumph and Kawasaki.

By the time the mill opened at 11-00 am there were already dozens of bikes lined up with their proud owners standing close by to answer any questions posed by the visitors.

The Best Bike of the Day was judged to be a Kawasaki Z1B 1975 900cc. The proud riders of this bike – Maureen and Neil Warburton from Draycott – were presented with the Dave Cleaver Memorial Trophy plus the certificate for the Best Bike of the Day by Colin Clemens, who organises the bikes coming to the mill. The owner of the bike is Maureen Warburton.

Photo of the winner courtesy of Lynn Allen and other photos by Anthony Sharp.

The ever-popular Bric-a-Brac stall was on site and received a lot of attention.  All in all it was a memorable day.

 

Italian Cars Visit

In spite of other attractions last Sunday, like a certain Cricket World Cup Final, visitors thronged to see a collection of varied Italian cars on display at Heage Windmill.

Red 1970 Fiat 500, owned by Mr & Mrs Byrne from Derby, namerd Best Italian Car. The award was presented by Attila Corsoba (left) from Coffee N Cars

Some 45 cars on display included Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Abarths, Ferraris, and Lancias.  One car that drew the eye was a rare red 1972  ‘Justino’ made by Ferrari, which had raced at Le Mans.   

A black Abarth 595 Trofeo 1.4 turbo , owned by Rich & Cid from Nuneaton, was named Best Abarth. Attila Corsoba (left) of Coffee N Cars presented the award

Awards were made for the Best in Show along with the Best Abarth model. 

A great day was enjoyed by all and we hope to see the Italian cars again next year. 

Project Sails On!

Our windmills two replacement sails are now scheduled to be up and turning by the end of September.

Fitting one of eight arms on Sail B

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 frame of Sail E being assembled

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.

Volunteers working on the back stay of sail E

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.

Shows Sail E ready to have shutters fitted with sail B in back

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, Choral and Car Displays make up a memorable weekend

Heage Windmill’s floral display inside St Luke’s Church

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.

Tractor Man opens Windmill

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.