Part of a Great Day Out on Wimbledon Common
Include a visit to the Windmill Museum, where there is interest for all ages and, if you don't have time for the full tour, visit the shop for postcards, books and souvenirs.
The Windmill has been a distinctive landmark since it was built in 1817 to serve the local community. However it only operated until 1864, when the machinery was removed and it was converted to residential accommodation. In 1976 the first floor was opened as a museum which was extended to the whole building in 1998.
When, in August 2015, one of the sails fell from the windshaft, it was decided that complete renovation was required. This was achieved with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant together with contributions from the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators and other local benefactors, and completed in November, 2016.
The museum also has a display of Scouting memorabilia, commemorating the writing of part of 'Scouting for Boys' by Robert Baden-Powell in the nearby Mill House in 1908.
The museum is administered by a charitable trust (charity no. 1162544) and run entirely by volunteers, allowing regular admission to be free and only modest charges for groups. It is open on summer weekends only, but school parties and group visits can be arranged at other times.
Restoration of the Sails
After a sail fell from the windshaft in August 2015, the museum Trustees worked with the owners of the mill (the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservator) to obtain an HLF grant of £100,000 for the repairs, which included necessary work on the tower and roof as well as the sails. The total project cost was budgeted at £138,000 and together with several generous donations from the local community and a commitment from the Conservators to use some of their own funds, the project proceeded as planned and the fully restored sails were installed on 9th November, 2016. We enjoy running them occasionally on suitably windy days.
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant which provided the main funding for the restoration of the windmill sails in 2016 included provision for some related heritage projects.
One of these was a project conducted by volunteers to capture the memories of people who have recollections of the windmill in the past.
Interviews were recorded and transcribed and have been put together in a booklet entitled 'Windmill Voices'. This booklet is available to view online at: Windmill Voices