Photo gallery: Norfolk’s iconic Denver Mill reopens to the public

The new Tenants of Denver Windmill Samantha and Graham Styles. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The new Tenants of Denver Windmill Samantha and Graham Styles. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Graham and Sam Styles have spent the last month refurbishing Denver Mill, near Downham Market.

The landmark attraction, which towers over the Fens, has been empty since the previous tenants left in May.

'It's been chaos but we're geting there,' said Mr Styles. 'Everyone's been running around like headless chickens as you can imagine.

'As soon as we're open and we start getting some money in we can start putting the thing back together.'

The main things in need of putting back together are the mill's giant sails, which were removed in October 2011 after one of the blades came free from its mounting.

The Styles and the mill's owners, the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust, are looking at how they can raise the £100,000 needed to restore them.

Mrs Styles, who worked as head of confectionary baking at the mill for two years under its previous tenants, said: 'We're hoping for some funding from English Heritage and the National Lottery. You talk to anyone in Denver, Downham and Wisbech – nearly everyone knows there's a windmill.

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'The people here are lovely. People have been stopping us in the street, saying: 'We're so pleased you've taken it on'.'

The cafe, bakery and local produce shop at the mill will reopen at 10am today. The Styles hope to add a coffee lounge in a former machine room with belts, pulleys and switchgear belonging to the steam and oil-powered gear which replaced wind as a source of power for the millstones in the early 1940s.'It's like something out of a Frankenstein film,' said Mr Styles. 'We've got to let people see it.'

One engine – in true Fen style – is cranked not by hand, but by firing a 12-bore cartridge to turn its cylinders over.

As well as grinding corn, the mill's workshops ground out parts for munitions during the war. It also proved of use to the Luftwaffe.

'The Germans used it as a landmark, which is why it was never bombed,' said Mrs Styles.

As well as restoring the mill, the couple hope to find out more about its past.

'This was the heart of the village for years, right up to the 1960s,' said Mr Styles. 'So it would be lovely to talk to anyone who knows anything about it.'

Denver Mill will be open from 9am – 5pm, seven days a week, until the autumn.