Last sail removed from Denver Windmill in Norfolk

The remaining sail of Norfolk's last commercial flour mill still powered by the wind has been removed.

The sail on Denver Mill, near Downham Market, was taken away on Wednesday for safety reasons after a stress fracture damaged the wind gear.

"We'll get her turning again, but it's tragic when you see her like this. Poor old thing, she's lost her dignity," said leaseholder Mark Able.

The mill, built in 1835, is owned by the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust.

It took a team of millwrights, lead by Paul Able, six hours to remove the remaining sail.

He said: "The bolt was completely seized in the stock but eventually we got it out enough to cut in half which released the sail quite dramatically.

"This is the only remaining good sail so this will be stored until the remaining three can be rebuilt and new stocks are constructed."

A stress fracture in one of the metal stocks, the arms which hold the sails in place, broke in October 2011 causing the sails to collapse into each other.

Debris fell to the ground close to a group children from Clenchwarton Community Primary School, near King's Lynn. No-one was hurt.

Image caption The grade II listed Denver Mill was built in 1836

Repair and restoration of the sails is estimated at £100,000.

"We've already spent around £100,000 on the mill over the last couple of years," said Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust secretary Dr Douglas Munro.

"Nobody could have predicted the stress fracture back in October. We now need to look at the remaining stock, sail and shutters to see what can be salvaged.

"We are in the process of applying to grant-making bodies to try and secure funds to restore the wind gear, but this will take many months to get resolved."

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