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Posted by Kim Winter, Tuesday 13th September, 2011

Successful first open day since restoration

visitors at Brixton Windmill

Image: Owen Llewellyn

Forty visitors completed visits inside Brixton Windmill when we finally opened for free guided tours for two hours last Sunday afternoon.

Full of praise
Our special first-day visitors were full of praise for the quality of the restoration, the welcome they received from our volunteer guides, and the information offered on the tours. Delighted visitors both young and old carefully examined the mill workings and furniture, marvelled at the structure and questioned guides about whether the sails could turn and when the provender mill might be able to mill grain to produce flour.

This was the first open day for historic Ashby Mill in Brixton since restoration work was finally completed. Members of the public who had booked in advance were guided up ladders through all four floors of the windmill built in 1816. They were told how Brixton’s windmill was the base for the Ashby family’s milling business right up to 1934, when the provender mill was switched off for the last time and regular production of stoneground flour in Brixton finally came to an end.

Our volunteer guides also provided tours outside the mill and took visitors who had not booked in advance up to the first floor.

"Such an improvement"
It was a great day for the Friends of Windmill Gardens and the culmination of our long campaign to get this unique Grade II* listed building open for free public visits.

Visitors were also very appreciative, with comments such as "Wonderful", "fascinating", and "Such an improvement on my last visit". One visitor remembered bringing her children many years ago and said how wonderful it was to get back inside. And two people bought "I love Brixton Windmill" T-shirts as mementoes of their visit!

More tours this weekend
We look forward to greeting more visitors this weekend (17-18 September). Brixton Windmill is open for pre-booked tours and also visits to the first floor only if you just turn up on either Saturday or Sunday between 1pm and 4pm.

If you have not booked, be prepared to queue this weekend, because we are part of London Open House. Visitor numbers are restricted in this unique tower mill at the heart of Brixton.

However, if you come on Sunday you can also enjoy FoWG’s annual Windmill Festival in the park that surrounds the windmill. The festival is also a free event.

See What's on for further information about booking tours and the Windmill Festival.