Huge crowds attend Windmill opening

The May Day parade stretched a long way down Brixton Hill (photo by Paul Cronk)

Up to 2,000 people  joined our May Day parade up Brixton Hill to watch and celebrate the official reopening of Brixton Windmill this afternoon. The parade included steel and salsa bands, actors from the Brixton Windmill Theatre Group, a stilt-walker, a model windmill on a float, and lots of children and adults in fancy dress and flowered hats.

Some of the hats rivalled those of the royal wedding in their creativity (photo by Kim Winter)

Once the parade reached Windmill Gardens, the Brixton Windmill Theatre Group presented a short play explaining the history of the mill. Then the windmill was officially opened by local MP Chuka Umunna and Mayor of Lambeth Tina Valcarcel.

Chuka Umunna MP and Mayor of Lambeth Tina Valcarcel before cutting the ribbon (photo by Paul Cronk)

Once the mill was officially open, visitors were allowed in to see the restored interior. The queues were long, because we had to limit the numbers due to the very restricted space inside. But we extended the planned opening hours so that everyone who stayed did manage to get in – thank you all for your patience!

Unfortunately, we were unable to turn the sails, as the millwright, who is the only person at the moment who can operate the mill, could not attend. However, he will be training several volunteers in the coming weeks, and on our next open days on 14 and 15 May (National Mills Weekend) the sails will turn and the provender mill will grind flour.

Elsewhere in the park, there was a fancy dress competition for the children, and Brockwell Bake ground flour with a hand-turned mill. The No Frills Band and Fernando Reyes provided musical entertainment, while the little ones let off steam in the children’s playground.

Many thanks to everyone who turned up to show support for the windmill. We are extremely grateful, and we hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.

The Friends of Windmill Gardens rely entirely on volunteers to help maintain the windmill, run guided tours and organise other events throughout the summer. If you would like to get involved with this, we’d love to hear from you – email info@brixtonwindmill.org.uk

You can also offer financial support by joining the Friends online.

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