• Sat. May 25th, 2024

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THE COG WHEELS ARE TURNING for the completion of a major heritage conservation project in Sunderland.

With the cap and machinery now in place at Fulwell windmill, the main sails can be lifted into place restoring one of the city’s most famous historic landmarks back to its former glory.

A crane will arrive on-site next week to lift the sails onto the 19th Century building, which will allow traditional craftsmen and millwrights Owlsworth IJP to complete restoration of the windmill which first became an integral part of Sunderland’s skyline in 1808.

Weather permitting, work is expected to last two days, after which Fulwell Mill will be handed over by Sunderland City Council to Sunderland North Community Business Centre (SNCBC) who will manage and maintain this historical heritage attraction.

SNCBC will deliver a programme of community activities and events from the visitor centre and Tea Rooms which were developed after attracting external funding from the Coastal Communities Fund in 2016.

Volunteer recruitment is starting now and SNCBC are keen to hear from anyone who can support them in ensuring the historic windmill is maintained for future generations to enjoy.

A training session is being delivered on Friday 2 March 8.30am to noon, to give people an insight into the traditional skills required to maintain the Mill, including areas such as inspection of the sails and machinery, maintenance and operating equipment.

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “Friday morning is a fantastic opportunity to see traditional millwrights at work, and learn the skills required in order to play a part in maintaining one of our city’s oldest and most treasured heritage assets.

” The complete set of sails now being installed is the final piece in the historic jigsaw at Fulwell Mill, and the result of a lot of hard work and dedication from all those involved.”

The cultural heritage project was a partnership between Sunderland City Council and Historic England who both helped fund the costs of repairs and restoration       

Chief Executive of SNCBC, Nikki Vokes added: “Having the community at the heart of this project is essential for its success and we would like to invite everyone to come along and get involved.  There will be lots of opportunities to volunteer in different ways including helping us to share the history of the Mill both locally and nationally and we will be delivering a range of events and activities across the year.

” The view out to the coast from the first floor of the visitor’s centre is one of the best you will find in Sunderland and we hope people of all ages can visit the site to enjoy it for many years to come.”

The Grade II* listed building can now be removed from Historic England’s Heritage-at-Risk Register where it was placed in 2015.

It was closed as a visitor attraction in 2012 because of storm damage with the cap and sails later removed in 2015 because of their dangerous condition.

Since then, the council has been working with Beaumont Brown Conservation Architects and Bonwick Milling Heritage Consultancy on the restoration scheme approved by Historic England.

Kate Wilson, Heritage at Risk Principal for Historic England in the North East, said: “We are delighted to see Fulwell Mill fully restored. Repairing buildings like this requires specialist skills and has been carried out by a team of millwrights possessing the necessary expertise.

“Historic England actively promotes and supports the use of traditional building skills as preserving this expertise is fundamental to repairing historic buildings.

“The specialist work carried out by Owlsworth IJP has restored Fulwell Mill to its rightful place on the city’s skyline and is testament to our shared commitment to preserving our industrial and cultural heritage.”

If you are interested in taking part in the training, or becoming a volunteer, at the Mill then please contact  Megan on 0191 537 3231 to book a place. Please note places are limited.

By admin