Meopham Windmill's sails to be removed as Grade II site closes to public
PUBLISHED: 12:38 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:38 29 August 2017
The windmill's veranda closed to the public earlier this month
A 200-year-old Meopham landmark is set to be taken apart over the coming months amid health and safety concerns.
Offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, Meopham Windmill’s veranda has been closed to visitors since the start of the month, ending its usual May to September open season a month early.
But the repairs aren’t limited to the Grade II listed landmark’s viewing platform, also known as the reefing stage.
All four of the early 19th century mill’s sails and stocks, to which the sails are fitted, will be removed before the winter brings a change in weather.
“If there was a serious storm like we had in 1987, then there would be a lot of strain on the sails and it could cause damage to them,” explained trustee Malcolm Wanmer, from the Meopham Windmill Trust.
When the veranda was open, it cost £1.50 for adults and £1 for children to visit, with up to visitors each week.
“I still think the veranda could hold four or five people on it at a time, but it’s a case of health and safety, we just can’t risk it,” said Malcolm Wanmer.
“We hope to have it open again next year, but it depends on finding the right mill wrights, tradesmen who specialise in fixing mills, they’re not as common nowadays.
“The veranda offers spectacular views of the area and we would never want to lose it.”
First opened in 1801, the mill is known for its unusual six-sided design, compared to the more popular octagonal shape most mills were built with.
It is also known as Killick’s Mill, after three brothers who built it and started off 164 years of milling.
In 1960, the site was bought by Kent County Council and restored by E Hole and Sons for £4,375, roughly £92,000 in today’s money.
That same decade, the mill appeared in an episode of The Prisoner.
The mill itself will still be used by Meopham Parish Council.
A KCC Spokesperson said: “The sweeps, stocks and fantail will need to be taken down so that the work can be carried out safely. This will be undertaken before the winter weather sets in and the repair work will be carried out over the winter/spring period.
“The exact dates will depend on the availability of specialist mill wright contractors. The repairs are necessary to keep this important listed building and local landmark safe and Kent County Council will ensure they are completed as soon as possible.”