As a member of the SPAB's Mills Section, I agree with its "Philosophy of repair of windmills and watermills" which states its aim "to fight for the conservation and repair of any mill which retains its machinery" and that "Windmills and watermills are primarily machines, and proposals to convert them to other uses will always be critically examined".
This philosophy does not preclude conversion to other uses, but does try to avoid the wholesale destruction of an irreplacable part of out national heritage that has happened with poorly considered conversions in the past.
From a personal viewpoint, the continued existance of a windmill tower, as a landmark feature, even if house converted, is preferable to the total loss of the mill remains that might have occured simply through disuse and decay. However remember that windmills depend on a close relationship with the wind from which they derived their power - a conversion that envelopes the remains within a larger development, and thus separates the mill from its natural source of energy, must surely be considered poorly judged.
The conversions included have taken place over a considerable period of time. Here's hoping that in these enlightened times, conversion is viewed less as the only possibility for preservation, and that any future conversions are done with regard for maintaining all existing structure, and for preserving the historical and technical integrity of the mill and its surroundings.
When all's said and done, there's considerable romance and cachet in living in a converted windmill - many of these properies are extremely desirable, despite the considerable loss to our heritage that the conversion process occasioned.
|Last updated 03/03/2017||Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -|