Friends of Chishill Windmill

As we approach the end of the year, we thought you’d like an update on what we have achieved in the year and what we are planning for 2020 and beyond.

2019 has been a truly significant year in the history of Chishill Windmill. Firstly, it marked the bicentenary of the fabrication of this particular mill. There had been windmills on the site for centuries before but this one was built in 1819. Then, of course, we have the success of the restoration and the ‘Re-opening Day’ celebrations of June 8th. The also had the hedge pruned hard so that it can be trained to a more interesting boundary and currently the mill shines in all its glory from the hilltop.

Sadly, work on the mill is not yet complete as the tail drive mechanism is only slowly coming together. Our millwright, Bill Griffiths, has done a superb job on the restoration but, as his reputation spreads, he is much in demand and is currently making the smock mill at Drinkstone, Suffolk watertight for the winter. Bill is sharing his time with our job so we are progressing but it will be Spring before we see the mill turning itself to wind.

On the administrative front, we are awaiting confirmation of our change of status to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). Currently we are both a Limited Company, reporting to Companies House, and a Charity reporting to the Charity Commission. CIO status will cover the legal aspects of trading, together with Gift Aid eligibility and require only much simpler financial accounting. We expect to see the conclusion of this move shortly after Christmas.
The Trustees are currently constructing a business plan for the ongoing running and maintenance of both the building and the overall site. We’re sure that everyone appreciates that the windmill does not lend itself to hire as a venue or other such use to yield income, so we have to seek regular donation and fundraising to keep the old beauty in fine fettle.

We also think it sensible to start building a ’sinking fund’ for the inevitable big expenses that will come along. As well as ongoing maintenance, there are, of course, potential developments that could be embarked upon: the internal machinery is virtually complete so a project to remake sail shutters and refurbish the running gear might see the mill grinding grain once more; maybe an area of the adjacent field might be purchased to allow the development of supporting enterprises and much needed car parking. Who knows? What is sure is that we need some younger folk with enthusiasm to take on such ventures – with an average age of 70, and all of us eligible for a bus pass, the current committee might find another long-term project a little daunting!
Most of all, we should like to thank you for being a ‘Friend’. We are delighted that you continue your interest in the windmill and look forward to telling you of further milestones as we pass them.

Don’t forget that we are always pleased to show you round the mill if you would like. Just email and we’ll set something up.