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Page last updated at 08:47 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Restoration for historic windmill
Stansted Mountfitchet Windmill
The mill is approximately 57 feet high and 25 feet in diameter at the base

An historic windmill at Stansted Mountfitchet is undergoing a £200,000 conservation repair project.

The tower mill, which was built in 1787, has had its 10 tonne cap lifted off so work can take place to allow the sails to be turned to face the wind.

Funding for the project has come from local fundraising and donations, the Parish Council and English Heritage.

Work by specialist building teams began in November and is expected to be completed by Spring 2010.

"It is the icon of the village; Stansted Mountfitchet is famous for its windmill, it's very visible," said Alan Williams, treasurer of the Stansted Millers, a local voluntary organisation that operates the mill.

"The wonderful thing about this current project is [the mill is] going to be enhanced and operating more frequently.

"It's a very important example of a tower corn mill and particularly important because it has the original machinery exactly as the miller would have left it in 1910."

Exciting spectacle

The windmill has undergone various restoration projects over the past 20-30 years, but this is the first time the cap, which houses the sails, has received substantial maintenance.

"The cap has been unable to be turned to face the wind. We can only get the sales moving when the wind is in a particular direction, ie the south-west.

"The main feature of this project is to lift the cap off the mill, thus exposing the curb and that is now going to be refurbished, levelled and refitted so the cap can go round," said Alan.

Removing the sails and the 10 tonne cap required two large cranes.

"It was quite an exciting spectacle to watch!" he added.

The specialist restoration work on the 18th century building is being co-ordinated by English Heritage, who have provided half of the estimated repair cost.

The covered lead cap from Stansted Mountfitchet
The workings inside the revolving cap are being restored for the first time

"Fortunately there are still some specialist firms in existence," said Alan.

"I think it's thanks to the whole ethos in this country, that we do preserve and cherish these ancient buildings.

"So even in these times, money is made available to maintain and enhance these buildings to try to get them back to their original form."

Alan hopes the work will allow the mill to be used more often and for it to be opened to the public more regularly.

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