Restoration is officially completed – book a guided tour of the windmill

Good news – practical completion of the restoration of Brixton Windmill was signed off (at last!) on Wednesday 17 August. All certification is in place and we are on target to open the windmill for free public visits and guided tours from Sunday September 11.

If you would like a guided tour to all floors of Brixton Windmill you must book in advance. If you just turn up when the windmill is open for public visits you may have to queue and you will only be able to go to the first floor of the beautifully restored Brixton Windmill.

Details of when and how to book plus important information that you should read before coming to Brixton Windmill can be found below.

We are really looking forward to meeting you on one of the following open days at Brixton Windmill:

Sunday 11 September 2-4pm
Saturday 17 September 1-4pm
Sunday 18 September 1-4pm This is also the day of our Windmill Festival so there will be music and stalls and other extra attractions in Windmill Gardens park.
Saturday 1 October 2-4pm
Sunday 9 October 2-4pm

Important information about visiting Brixton Windmill and how to book your guided tour

As a former industrial building, Brixton Windmill has potential dangers, including steep ladders, low beams and heavy machinery. It’s also a very small space, so the number of visitors at any one time is restricted. If you would like to go on a tour of the building you will need to book this in advance. We cannot guarantee entry on the day if you have not booked.

Please email: lrigg@lambeth.gov.uk or ring 020 7926 6056 to book a place. Bookings open on 30 August 2011.

Tours are free.

We love to welcome visitors to Brixton Windmill, and we hope you will enjoy learning about this unique building. As well as telling you about the windmill and its history, our guides and stewards are also there to ensure your safety – so please stay with them and listen to their advice and instructions to help get the most from your visit.

Children are very welcome, but because of the steep ladders they are not allowed to go above the first floor if they are less than 1.2m tall. They must be able to climb the stairs by themselves. Babies and young children cannot be carried.

If you have mobility problems, medical conditions or don’t like heights or climbing ladders, you may also prefer to remain on the ground or first floor.

To keep up to date with everything that is happening at Brixton Windmill check our website www.brixtonwindmill.org or enter your email address in the Email Subscription box on the righthand column of this page to receive an email alert when a new post is published on this blog.

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Art in the Park

Art in the Park event 14 Aug 2011

Activities at the Art in the Park event (photo by Nick Weedon)

The Friends held a successful Art in the Park event in Windmill Gardens on Sunday afternoon, 14 August 2011. Children enjoyed decorating T-shirts and plant pots, making masks, badges and model windmills and grown-ups made drawings and paintings of the windmill. There was also a giant image of the windmill which various people worked on during the afternoon. Tea and cakes were served in the One O’Clock Club to raise funds.

Many thanks to all who helped and all who came to make the event such a pleasant afternoon in the park. There are more photos of the event on Flickr.

Giant painting of the windmill

The giant painting of the windmill (photo by Nick Weedon)

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Art in the Park

An afternoon of creative fun for children and families, including mask making, drawing, T-shirt painting and badge-making, is being organised by the Friends of Windmill Gardens on Sunday 14 August from 2pm to 4pm.

We’re looking for more volunteers, either to help with the artistic activities, make tea or bake cakes in advance. If you’d like to help, please email info@brixtonwindmill.org.uk.

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Another successful benefit night

The Hobos

The Hobos are a local Brixton band (photo by Owen Llewellyn)

The second benefit night for the Friends of Windmill Gardens at the Windmill pub took place on Tuesday. Brilliant local band the Hobos entertained us again with their sparky folk music, while Jenny Cash (Son of Sue) added a more sardonic note to proceedings.

The raffle was another highlight of the evening. The great prizes included a £50 voucher to spend at Book Mongers in Coldharbour Lane, and a day pass for the Lido in Brockwell Park.

Seamus helps Richard out with the raffle (photo by Owen Llewellyn)

We raised more money by selling sausage rolls and slices of tortilla. And Sandra’s egg game kept ’em coming back – especially host Seamus, who was determined to find the whole egg! He eventually succeeded, after spending a good proportion of the night’s bar takings!

Many thanks to all the artists who played, to Magdalen and Sandra for organising the raffle and Richard the compere, and especially to to Seamus and Kathleen for hosting.

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Mill memories: Debby Brown

Debby Brown, a textiles tutor at Morley College in Lambeth, remembers getting locked in Brixton Windmill

“I was about to start at Camberwell  Art  School (1975), and decided to draw the mechanism in the windmill as part of my preparation. There was a little hut next to the mill where you paid your money (I think it was something like 20p ) and I went in, pleased to have the place to myself.

Provender mill cogs

Debby was sketching the mill machinery when she got locked in (photo by Owen Llewellyn)

“Having settled down to draw, I was about halfway through my sketch when I heard the door being bolted. I climbed down, shouted and banged on the door. I couldn’t believe I was shut in. As I couldn’t think of anything else I went back up and finished the drawing before panicking.

“I hadn’t expected the custodians to come back , so you can imagine how relieved I was when they opened up again about an hour and a half later. Apparently they got a lot of bother from schoolchildren at the end of the afternoon, so simply closed up and went for a cup of tea until the children had all gone home.They found it very amusing that they had shut me in and enjoyed telling me about the rats which they claimed ran riot at night!”

Racing down Brixton Hill
“My father was living in Leander Road from the 1920s, and I remember a number of his naughty schoolboy stories involving local establishments, eg ‘borrowing’ the red wicker parcel delivery carts from the postal sorting office yard, getting inside and racing them down Brixton Hill, whilst being chased of course by postmen! But nothing involving the windmill, which I suppose would have been working then.”

Elizabeth I and Walter Raleigh

Oak tree

Did Elizabeth I sit underneath this oak tree on Josephine Avenue? (photo by Kim Winter)

“Ye ancient oake tree in Josephine Avenue (nearly opposite the end of Leander Road): according to my grandma and other old ladies this had the reputation of being a shady picnic stop for Queen Elizabeth I on a visit to Sir Walter Raleigh via the River Effra. I have Google Earthed it but too leafy to see.

“The last time I saw it there was a fence around it, as it had sadly suffered some sort of fire. In my day it was a popular parking spot for dustbins and old bikes, but it was certainly very old, with enormous girth and some dead branches, though still alive and healthy. It was the only old tree, certainly predating the houses, and one imagines must have been retained for a reason.

“Queen Elizabeth seems to have had a fondness  for sitting about under oaks – I now live near another at Honor Oak. Of course, it may all be tosh!”


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Sign-ups at Lambeth Country Show

FoWG stall at Lambeth Country Show in the rain

The weather wasn't kind... (photo by Nick Weedon)

Despite the constant downpours of rain over the weekend at Lambeth Country Show, we recruited dozens of new members as well as receiving donations and selling plants and merchandise. Our irrestible egg game also raised funds towards the Windmill Festival in September.

FoWG stall at Lambeth Country Show

...but when the sun came out we were quite busy! (photo by Nick Weedon)

We signed up 10 volunteers for the guide training day on 6 August, and quite a few of the new members also expressed interest in being trained as either a guide or a steward.

Thanks to Nick for organising the rota and to everyone who came along and campaigned for the Friends of Windmill Gardens in such adverse conditions.

Don’t forget that we have another benefit evening at the Windmill pub tonight to raise funds for the Windmill Festival!

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Benefit night on Tuesday

Don’t forget our next fundraising evening for the Friends of Windmill Gardens! It’s this Tuesday 19 July at the Windmill Pub, 22 Blenheim Gardens, Brixton SW2 5BZ.

Headlining will be Jenny Cash (Son of Sue), described as “sardonic social commentary delivered in the musical tradition of the Man in Black (Tennessee Three era)”. Local band the Hobos will also be playing, and there will be an open mic spot from 7.30 to 9pm.

We’ve got some great raffle prizes, including a £50 book token and a day pass to Brockwell Lido. Plus there will be sweet and savoury snacks on sale, and an eggs-tra mystery attraction.

So bring your friends and family, listen to some great music, and help raise funding for our Windmill Festival in September!

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