Work begins on Mill refurb

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The sails on an historic windmill have been taken down for the first time since the 1980s as part of a huge refurbishment.

Business bosses and hundreds of visitors watched on as workers arrived at the Grade II listed Marsh Mill, Thornton, yesterday to remove the sails from the mill – the first phase of the redevelopment project.

Workers from millwrights Owlsworth IJP were carrying out the work.

The sails were removed by crane and will now be taken on a low loader to IJP’s workshop in Henley-on-Thames where the firm will begin making a complete new set of sails which will be ready for fitting early November.

In the meantime, Wyre Council bosses say restoration works will commence on the structure of the mill including repairs to the fabric of the mill, repairs and replacement window frames, repairs to the walls and render, improvements to ventilation, repairs to the cap (roof) and fantail and the existing reefing stage (the balcony) will be removed and replaced.

The mill will also be completely re-decorated externally. Glen Stewart, who has run the delicatessen at the Marsh Mill site for nine months, said the mill was a “landmark” and would draw people into the

area from all around if it can be made to turn again.

It has been several years since the mill sails actually turned.

He added: “People have been here walking round.

“At any one time there has been about 50 people walking around it and taking photographs.

“The volunteers (who look after the Mill) are keen to see it redeveloped, they really want it to re-open.

“It will draw people in. If they can get it turning it will draw people in from all over the place.

“I have been busy today and the new Best Friends gift shop and Enticing cakes to the right of me have been busy too.”

The extensive revamp of the 213-year-old building, by owners Melrose Investments Ltd, is being supported by English Heritage and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.