Windmill open day success

Mark Barnard (Member of the mill management committee), Giles Smith (Chairman of the building) and Piers Hart (Chairman of Suffolk buildings preservation trust) ANL-161209-093357009

Mark Barnard (Member of the mill management committee), Giles Smith (Chairman of the building) and Piers Hart (Chairman of Suffolk buildings preservation trust) ANL-161209-093357009

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Thelnetham Windmill opened its doors and gave the public the chance to view inside the historic building at an open event last weekend.

Coinciding with Heritage Open Weekend, the mill, which dates back to 1819, is only one of four preserved tower mills in Suffolk.

Mark Barnard (Member of the mill management committee), Piers Hart (Chairman of Suffolk buildings preservation trust) and Giles Smith (Chairman of the building)

Mark Barnard (Member of the mill management committee), Piers Hart (Chairman of Suffolk buildings preservation trust) and Giles Smith (Chairman of the building)

Bob Paterson, from The East Anglian Mills Society, was very pleased with how the day went and that the public got a rare insight into Suffolk mills.

He said: “It is incredibly important for the public to get a chance to see inside these buildings. It helps them understand how the mill works because they don’t get to see them working very often,

“They get turned into houses these days and when we have open days during the year I feel it is crucial that people get a chance to see these beautiful mills.”

The mill was fully operational in the 19th century, but it become effectively derelict by 1926.

It was then purchased for restoration by mill enthusiasts, or molinologists as they are known, in 1979 and managed to complete repairs by 1987.

Mr Paterson pointed out that even though the maintenance of these mills is expensive and continually ongoing, last weekend does assist the cause in other ways.

He said: “Events like this don’t generate money for the mills, but it does raise awareness in that these mills are still here after so long.

“It helps to increase the interest of these old buildings and will help all of our mills in the future and that means everything to them.”

The Heritage Open Days weekend also saw an ongoing project, which had over 100 visitors, receive a cheque to help continue plans for restoration.

Great War Huts on Brook Farm Camp in Hawstead is looking to fully open the site next year and were presented with a cheque of just over £800 by Marion and Bernie Phillips,

The supporters of the project organised a fund-raising event for the huts and the money will be used to complete 11 original First World War buildings which will house an exceptional collection of First World War artefacts alongside accurately recreated trenches.

Other places involved were Thetford Grammar School, who did guided tours of the grounds on Saturday, including the 17th century Elizabethan Old School Hall, and Rougham Control Tower.