The Working Windmill
Nigel Moon has always had a passion for windmills and has restored the 19th Century mill in Whissendine, Rutland to fully working order.
Whissendine Windmill was originally built in 1809 by the Earls of Harborough who also owned Stapleford Park and the rest of the village.
In the 1860s it was sold on, and then a couple more times until it rested with the Kitchen family who owned it right through until damage from gale force winds forced the working mill to close in April 1922.
In 1995 Nigel Moon bought the windmill for £50,000, and set to the task of returning the building to its former grinding greatness.
Listen: Whissendine's Working Windmill
BBC Leicester's Julie Mayer visited Nigel at the mill to find out more about it's history and the process of making flour...
To bring the mill back to life the whole top of the structure had to be rebuilt and major gearing replaced.
Otherwise the internal machinery was intact and all it needed was an electric motor to get things turning again.
Nigel is now carrying out work to make the sails work on wind power once again in time for the windmill's bicentenary.
Making the flour
On the top floor of the building there are four sets of millstones that are slowly fed a trickle of grain, that has travelled up from the ground on an elevator.
Once ground chutes take the wholemeal mixture down to the dressing floor below where a large drum slowly spins separating the finer flour from the coarse bran.
Finally it all drops down to the ground floor again to be packed up in sacks.
Nigel estimates that on average the windmill produces about two tonnes of flour a week.
There would have originally been a large workforce, but now Nigel does it all single-handed (with just a little help from his 90 year-old mother Ruth!):
"Basically if it works right it feeds off the bin, up the mill, through the stones, through the flour dressers and back to the ground floor without having to do anything."
Before Whissendine, Nigel spent 20 years running a mill at Ely in Cambridgeshire. He says his love of the buildings is a deep rooted one:
"I started when I was six with a windmill on the seaside - and it got worse!"
last updated: 08/07/2009 at 14:42