Worthing’s heritage jewel needs next generation of experts

The enforced closure of High Salvington Windmill has given volunteers an opportunity to work on restoring this heritage jewel and today it is in tip top condition.

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 5:54 pm

But the grand old lady of Worthing now needs to extend her family and welcome in a new band of experts to ensure a solid future.

Many of the original volunteers have retired or passed on, so this wonderful symbol of the past seeks new blood to keep her in the best condition possible.

Lucy Brooks, director and guide organiser, said: “This perfect jewel of our heritage past is a credit to Worthing and to the volunteers who maintain it. But we seek expertise to help us move into the future.

High Salvington Windmill in Worthing. Picture: Stephen Goodger W32159H6

“She is in tip top condition. But as time moves on, our original band of volunteers have retired or passed on, so this wonderful symbol of the past seeks new blood to keep her in the best condition possible.

“In particular, we are seeking a new chief engineer and a maintenance co-ordinator. To this end, the directors will be engaging in a number of exercises, as soon as social distancing rules permit, to recruit volunteers to the maintenance team, but for administrative roles, too.”

Built in 1756 on a site that had been home to a windmill for centuries, the post mill produced flour for local bakers for more than 200 years.

But as the 19th century turned to the 20th, it began to fall into disuse and very little milling was done.

Long-standing volunteer Peter Casebow with the mill stone. Picture: Stephen Goodger W07643H12

For a while it operated as a popular tearoom. Charabancs of trippers would arrive for light lunches and teas, followed by a bracing walk on the downs. Even so, by the late 1950s, the mill was falling down and dangerous.

Worthing Borough Council purchased it in 1959 and millwrights Edwin Hole completed restoration works in the early 1960s.

Over the decades, it has been a band of volunteers, with skills ranging from architect to carpenter, mechanical engineer to electrician, who have kept the mill going and started it grinding again on April 4, 1991, after a 94-year break.

There is always something that needs doing and volunteers decided to use the closure caused by the pandemic to make necessary repairs and paint every surface on the site.

Anyone with expertise who is keen to get involved should contact Ian Fairclough by email to [email protected] or visit highsalvingtonwindmill.co.uk for more information.

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