Located within the grounds of Wimbledon Common, The Wimbledon Windmill Museum offers exhibits involving windmills. It depicts the story of windmills from their early origins up to the present day by using models, examples of machinery and tools of the trade.
Accordingly, the museum also features scouting memorabilia, being a prominent location in the history of the scout movement. Robert Baden-Powell wrote part of his work Scouting for Boys while staying at The Windmill.
The museum is run entirely by volunteers. Therefore opening times are limited to weekends only. So, the normal opening times are Saturday 2PM – 5 PM and Sundays 11AM-5PM. Also the museum will be open in 2017 from Saturday 25th March until Sunday 29th October. So, for 2017 the Bicentenary Year there will be no admission charges.
Wimbledon Windmill was built in 1817 by Charles March. He was a Roehampton carpenter. After an initial application in 1799 by a John Watney was rejected on the grounds that he did not submit plans when requested. So, the mill ceased operation in 1864 when Earl Spencer, the local Lord of the Manor decided to enclose the common for his own use and evicted the miller. He was the person who promptly removed all his machinery to prevent his mill being used in direct competition to his other mills in Kingston. Earl Spencer was strongly opposed. Then in 1871, local residents successfully saw that the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act was passed and handed the care of the commons to elected and appointed conservators.
During World War II, when army camps were based on the common, the mill was camouflaged with green. It is to reduce its visibility to German bombers. But was repainted at the end of the war. More recently, a sail fell off in August 2015 damaging the base. However in November 2016, after a complete renovation, the museum opened again. The museum is supported by volunteers and open on weekends only from late March until the end of October.
This blog post was published by Plumbing Company Wimbledon.
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