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Grade II* listed windmill in Cambridgeshire is at risk
Stevens' Mill, Burwell
Stevens' Mill in Burwell is named after the family which ran it for many years

A 200-year-old Cambridgeshire windmill joined English Heritage's Buildings at Risk Register in July 2010.

Now Burwell Museum, which owns Stevens' Mill, has launched an appeal to raise over £200,000 to restore it.

"It's one of the very few listed buildings in this area in the east of England that's on the Buildings at Risk Register," said Luke Bonwick.

He is from the Windmill Restoration Company and is helping Burwell Museum find funding to restore the mill.

"It's one of the best examples around here," continued Luke. "This one is complete, its upper works are complete and as you go inside it, the internal machinery is complete as well."

There are two very major problems which are making the building vulnerable.

Cement render on the body of the mill is letting in water, endangering the clunch (a local stone) beneath.

And the cap is stuck in one position. This is the moveable lid on the top of the mill which is designed to move the sails around automatically, following the wind direction.

It is estimated that repairs to the windmill will cost between £200,000 to £220,000. Just making a second set of sails will cost £18,000.

"But we'll get a great deal of bang for our buck," Luke explained. "Because we can really repair the mill at all levels and turn it back to the important heritage feature that it really is."

Burwell Windmill Trust

Machinery, Stevens' Mill
Grade II listed Stevens' Mill has all its original machinery

Paul Hawes, who is now the chairman of Burwell Museum, remembers taking grain to the windmill in the early 1950s.

"It was barley to be ground into barley meal for pigs. That was about the last job that Mr Stevens used to do," he remembered.

"In those days schoolboys were allowed to lead horses and carts up the street. The farmer I used to help, Mr Greenwood, used to send a couple of two hundredweight sacks to be ground up."

The windmill was last in use in 1957. The land surrounding it was eventually sold to developers, who sold the mill on to the Burwell Windmill Trust for £5 in the 1970s.

In the years since then, the trust, which is now part of Burwell Museum, has done quite a bit of restoration work, including commissioning two new sails.

Before the cap stuck, it was possible to run the mill on two sails, but this only provides 60% of the power the mill would have with four sails.

Now, though, the windmill needs to be fully restored to ensure that this piece of Cambridgeshire heritage survives for another 200 years.

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