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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Lancashire

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Windmill and fantail
© Courtesy of David Hutton
Going through the mill

The mill finally closed as a corn mill in 1928. However, Marsh Mill continued to perform many new roles, including a spell as a tearoom, a furniture store and a factory for making false teeth!

Marsh Mill as a tea room
© Courtesy of David Hutton
In May 1930, two prospective buyers, Miss Alice Baldwin and Mrs Mary Jane Bailey visited the mill. They crawled out onto the fantail platform to obtain a view of the coast. The platform held the weight of one woman but when the second stepped out onto it, the wood gave way, plunging both women to their deaths.

Community to the rescue

By the 1960s, Marsh Mill was in a sad state and was fast becoming a dangerous liability. In February 1964, concern over the mill led to a public meeting. Spurred into action by the passion displayed, by August 1965, over £3000 had been spent by the council on the mill's restoration.

Marsh Mill in construction
© Courtesy of David Hutton
As with many community projects, the campaign to save Marsh Mill owes much to the enthusiasm of one person. The determination of Walter Heapy, or Mr Windmill as he became known, led to the formation of the Thornton Windmill Preservation Trust in 1972.

When Heapy retired, he dedicated much of his time to restoring the machinery inside the mill. Helped by the local council and apprentices at British Nuclear Fuels, many of the original parts of the internal workings were salvaged. Sadly his death in 1986 meant he did not live to see the sails turning again.

While it will never return to its former glory, the mill was refurbished using crafts people from around the country. The sails finally turned again on January 16th 1990 - for the first time in over 60 years.

See Marsh Mill being restored

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Moulton Windmill restoration
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Wyre Borough Council
National Trust Windmills
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