Mill gets its cap back after renovation

After a year without it, Wicklewood Mill finally got its cap back yesterday.

After a year without it, Wicklewood Mill finally got its cap back yesterday.

The structure - in the traditional Norfolk shape of an upturned boat - was gently lifted into place by a large crane, marking a major step in attempts to get the mill back to working order.

The cap and sails were taken down just over a year ago for a complete overhaul as part of a major renovation programme.

The mill near Wymondham is owned by Norfolk Windmills Trust, which is funded by Norfolk County Council and looks after 20 corn and drainage mills throughout the county.

The cap has been rebuilt using any reusable parts, but the steel stocks to carry the sails are being replaced with wooden ones, which will be more in keeping and lighter in weight.

The five-storey mill was built in about 1845 and worked for almost 100 years, producing flour and then animal meal until 1942.

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A new vertical shaft was also installed yesterday, which takes the drive down to two sets of grind stones, which will also be reconnected.

It is hoped to get the sails back up within a few weeks and eventually get the mill working and grinding corn for the first time in 60 years.

The cost of having the cap and sails turning again was budgeted at £35,000 and it is planned to open the mill to the public next year.

Michael Knights, technical adviser to the trust, said: "A lot of people live nearby and to have a working mill on your doorstep would be a wonderful thing.

"Then it can start to generate a bit of income.

"There is quite a lot of work to do inside to get the stones reconnected up, but there is a market for stone ground flour, it's a niche market but a growing one."

Margaret Edwards, one of the daughters of the last miller at Wicklewood, Dennis Wade, said she was delighted with the work being done.

"I am very pleased to see the cap back on. I think it would be a good idea to get it working again, if they can find a miller, that is the essential bit."