Sails set to be restored to Lytham Windmill 'shortly after Easter' says Fylde Council chief

The sails are set to return soon to Lytham Windmill – but it’s going to be after Easter before the Fylde landmark is back to looking its best.

By Tony Durkin
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 3:45 pm

A team of skilled craftsmen in Wesham have been busy working on turning a consignment of specially-sourced Douglas Fir wood into a new set of four sails after storm damage meant the previous ones had to be taken down.

Allan Oldfield, chief executive of Fylde Council, which looks after the windmill, has confirmed that three new sails are now complete with the hope that the fourth will follow by the end of this week.

The new sails will then be installed after a required settling in period.

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Joe Gillett and team working on the new sails for Lytham Windmill which are almost complete

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Last of sails removed from Lytham Windmill following storm damage

Mr Oldfield said: “We’re delighted with the ongoing progress on the restoration of the Lytham Windmill.

"Three of the sails are now complete and in situ, with the last sail expected to be built by the end of the week.

"After this there will be a settling period for the constructed sails before they can be installed.

Pictured is Joe Gillett (right) are members of his team Ian Clough, Nicholas Gillett and Bob Baines.

"All things being well, the windmill will be back to its former beauty shortly after Easter.”

The construction of the new sails is the biggest job yet on the iconic windmill for veteran millwright Joe Gillett and his colleagues, who have worked on replacing sails on the Lytham icon on a number of occasions before but never a new full set.

The wood used to replace the sails broken in bad weather in the autumn hails from the Pacific coast of the USA and Joe says that around a ton of it is needed for each sail.

The primary arms for the sails measure around 30 ft.

Nicholas Gillett hard at work on the new Lytham Windmill sails

The sails are tapered and once built, the wood needs to be treated, then left to settle and acclimatise before they can be mounted.

The team at Gillett’s have been busy on the sails for several weeks and Joe said: “It’s a job we are proud to do.

“Lytham Windmill is a great landmark and has to face all weathers, so it makes sense to replace all four.”

The iconic windmill, which dates back to 1805, has been without its four sails since last autumn after a spate of bad weather damaged some of the sails.