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Holgate Mill was built in 1770 and is the last working windmill in York. It ground corn until the early 1930’s using wind power and then continued with the aid of an electric motor until production stopped entirely around 1933. The Mill was sold to York Corporation in 1939 and in the post-war years there were several attempts to restore the building. Some work took place but it became neglected as the housing estate grew around it.
In 2001 the Holgate Windmill Preservation Society was formed and restoration work started in 2006 under the overall control of millwrights R. Thompson and Son from Alford. The City of York Council works team repaired the brick tower and specialist casting and ironwork together with interior joinery and other fittings were provided by a number of local craftsmen.
PPIY Director Steve Potts is a founding Trustee of the Mill and acted as Architect for the restoration works. He is now a trained miller.
As the restoration progressed specific elements of the work were submitted for the York Guild of Building Craftsmanship Awards and in 2010 the Masters Award was presented to millwrights Tom Davies, Steve Boulton and Dave Andrews for the construction of the new cap and shear frame. A further Masters Award for the millwrights followed in 2012 for their work to construct the new sails and operating mechanism.
The restoration works were completed by mid 2012 and volunteers began the process of commissioning the mill and producing flour for sale. This required some fine tuning to get the milling machinery running smoothly after an eighty year break but by early 2013 the mill was producing consistently good flour from both the electric and wind driven stones. This is now sold both direct to the public and to a number of commercial outlets.
In 2013 the completed Mill won the John Shannon Conservation Award as part of the York Design Awards.
York is now home to one of only two working windmills in Yorkshire and we believe the oldest working five-sailed Mill in the world. The mill is open throughout the year at weekends for visits and flour sales, most frequently between May and October and full details can be found on the Holgate Windmill website at www.holgatewindmill.org
“The restoration of Holgate Windmill has been one of the recent success stories of York. It is a dramatic Grade 2 Listed building, a fine piece of industrial archaeology, a hugely popular visitor attraction and the centre of a local community. Jenny Hartland. Chair, HWPS”