Ok, so not everyone will get excited about the prospect of a museum about windmills, but on a walk through Wimbledon Common that’s exactly what happened to me as I had no idea it existed and once inside had no idea it would actually be any good.
The windmill itself is a strange building with a large octagonal base that housed the workings of the mill, which was converted into flats in the 1870s and is now a museum. There’s a really cute model in there of what it looked like when it was in use, which helps to explain the shape, but only a few of this kind ever existed.
I was expecting a fairly poorly curated, one room museum with a bit of information stuck up on the wall about the history of the mill, but there’s actually a lot going on in there. The museum includes a ladder that takes you up into the tower itself and I loved the notes on the woodwork in the tower recording work that had been done to it in 1893 and 1930. There’s loads of information about windmills in general and different types that exist(ed) as well as information about milling and a display about life in one of the late 19th Century flats that it was converted into.
The models are brilliant, most had working parts – I love models of any kind so it was probably this that has endeared me to the place so much. Models included early Persian and Greek mills as well as a variety of different types used in Britain at various times in history.
While it was a sunny weekend day so there were lots of people out and about, I was still pleasantly surprised by how many people were actually in the museum. It’s run completely by volunteers and makes a really nice stop on a walk and definitely worth the few pounds entry fee to support it.
For loads more info see – http://www.wimbledonwindmill.org.uk/home
Wimbledon Windmill Museum
London SW19 5NR
Opening Times: Saturday 30th March until Sunday 27th October as follows:
- Saturdays: 2 pm to 5 pm
- Sundays: 11 am to 5 pm
- Bank Holiday Mondays (but not Fridays): 11 am to 5 pm
Entry: £2 per adult, £1 per child/concession