Crane Day 17th April 2009

The restoration nears completion.

Great interest was generated by the latest “crane day”. After 2 years in the making, the completed cap finally emerged from the workshop and was raised to the top of the tower. A large crowd turned out to watch. Reported from BBC and ITV local news and the local paper attended.

By midday everything was ready for the big lift. There was an air of anticipation as the crane lifted the cap a few feet to allow some final pieces to be assembled. The cap was then lifted further and allowed to rotate into wind. While this settled a team gathered at the top of the mill to guide the cap into place. The cap remained motionless while this team were briefed by the crane operators.

Once the brief was complete, the banks man issued a brief instruction to the crane driver and the cap was on its way up. The tension built. Would the cap fit? Would a sudden gust of wind smash the cap against the tower? Would the tower take the weight?

The cap was gently let down onto the top of the tower. A few words between the crane operators and it settled onto the track, and that was it. Fortunately no drama or excitement, just a simple job carried out with skill by an experienced team.

Adding the cap has made a huge difference to the visual impact of the mill against its rural backdrop. If it weren’t for the sugar factory at Cantley we could say that it dominates the landscape. However, we are happy to settle for second place. It looks splendid.

Work continues on the mill and the sails will be added within the next few weeks. When they start turning we may even be able to give Cantley a run for its money (it may be big but doesn’t move much)!

The workshop dismantled to reveal a brand new cap
A misty start to the day, but doesn’t it look splendid?

The cap lifted and turned into wind
Nearly there!
Lowering the second stock into place

Crane Day 30 August 2008

Photo report of important day in mill rebuild program. The team lift important items out of, then back into the mill.

A major milestone in the restoration has been achieved. The latest “Crane Day” was a great success with all tasks being completed by an enthusiastic team of volunteers, helpers and well-wishers.

A total of 27 lifts were completed by the crane. Every major component on site was repositioned in such a way as to allow the final fitting of all the key parts. The curb ring is now in place at the top of the tower, the windshaft and brake wheel were lifted through the roof and the workshop onto the base of the cap and, after necessary adjustments have been made, will be fixed into place. The wallower wheel is in place on top of the shaft and is ready to engage with the brake wheel when the cap is lifted into place.

Incidentally, the crane driver estimated the weight of the oak framework which makes up the base of the cap as 5 tons! Add to that 1.5 tons of windshaft and brake wheel we realised we are going to need a bigger crane for the next crane day!

Build your own windmill kit
A nervous moment as the crane lifts the curb ring
She flies!!!!!
A fine view from the top of the tower. Each curb ring section was sponsored by an individual or company.

Windshaft lowered into workshop (through roof)
Brake wheel halves are assembled onto windshaft

One of the hardest jobs of the restoration so far has been removing the turbine (pictured above) from the base of the turbine well. This is probably the first time it has been out of the muddy marsh water since it was installed when the mill was built! In remarkably good condition has been used as a pattern for a new turbine. The original has been retained for display.

May 1989

In 1988 Arthur Smith recorded that the frame remained on top of the tower and the brake wheel was visible but there was no windshaft. The turbine was also in situ inside the mill.

The mill as it stood in 1930
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