The weather has been rather windy of late, so what better to feature on our Curiosity of the Week than a windmill? Heckington Windmill is the only eight-sailed windmill left in the country.
Heckington Windmill is nearly 200 years old and can be found in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. But the windmill did not start out with eight sails. It was originally built as a five-sail mill in 1830 for a young married man by the name of Michael Hare. Hare sadly died before the mill was completed and due to lack of maintenance and the decline in the industry the mill fell into a state of disrepair.
The windmill was almost finished off by a storm which tore through Lincolnshire in March 1890. A man called John Pocklington bought and repaired the windmill shortly after. This was when the windmill first became an eight-sailed mill. Pocklington stripped a nearby mill of its machinery and transported it by horse and cart to Heckington. Not an easy task to transport 34ft long sails and a metal cross weighing five tons by horse power along muddy roads.
Eight-sailed windmills were quite common at one time across Lincolnshire as millers tried to increase productivity, but Heckington is the only one that has survived. Whilst it was working with eight sails the mill could produce five tons of flour in a twelve-hour day, even in low wind. John Pocklington managed to run the mill successfully until his death in 1941, a long time after windmills had stopped being profitable in this country.
Kesteven Council bought the mill for £400 in 1953 and gave it Grade 1 Listed status. However, until a group of enthusiasts formed in 1982, the mill was simply a landmark with no access allowed to the public. The Friends of Heckington Windmill have managed the windmill for the past 30 years on behalf of Lincolnshire Council and since 1987 they have operated it to mill flour.
Tours of the mill are now possible and events take place on a regular basis. If you would like to visit the unique eight-sailed Heckington Windmill then you can check their website for opening hours and visiting information.
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