What’s so special about this place?
Argos Hill Windmill is a post mill, the earliest form of windmill design, constructed so that the mill body can rotate around its central post to face the wind. Only 50 post mills survive in the United Kingdom. As a relatively rare survival, with all its machinery intact and distinctive fantail driven tailpole, Argos Hill is listed Grade II*. Clad in white weatherboard with a red cap, the Windmill is a significant landmark within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. When it was built in around 1835, industrial activity was widespread in the countryside, in quarries, sawmills and forges. The mill enabled the surrounding rural communities to process the grain they grew, a story which resonates with today's interest in locally sourced produce and reducing food miles.
Why Was The Building At Risk?
After its closure, the Windmill passed into local authority ownership and following years of decline, was added to Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register. In 2008 it was proposed to dismantle and store the building.
How Was It Saved?
A local campaign led to the formation of the Argos Hill Windmill Trust, which took on a 99 year lease of the mill in 2011 and secured its restoration. Whilst the major repairs were undertaken by a millwright, significant sections of work have been undertaken by volunteers, contributing their skills and gaining new ones. The whole community has been involved, whether in supporting fundraising events or offering help, a testament to the importance they attach to this local heritage landmark.
Organisation: Argos Hill Windmill Trust Ltd
AHF support: Cold Spots Grant; Challenge Fund Grant; advice and support
New Use: Interpretation centre
Chartered Building Surveyor (Project Manager): John Moat, Douglas Moat Practice
Structural Engineer: James Tasker, Campbell Reith
Millwright: Jeremy Hold Engineering Ltd
Other project funders:
Heritage Lottery Fund £100, 000
Wealden District Council £88,000
Trust’s own resources (including donations and local fundraising) £46,211
Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundations and Historic England (Challenge Fund) £23,000
Charles Hayward Foundation £3,000
Rotherfield Trust £2,000
How is the building used now?
The interior, with all its machinery intact and mill body are fully restored and sweeps reinstated. Newly built steps enable people to see inside, with a digital tour available in the Roundhouse for those unable to make the climb, together with interpretation to tell the story of the Mill.
How did the AHF help?
We provided two grants. The first of £2,386 was under our Cold Spots scheme funded by the Pilgrim Trust, the John Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Foundation and Historic England. This enabled the Trust to develop a detailed specification and drawings as part of their project development. We also provided a Challenge Fund grant of £23,000. This grant scheme was funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Historic England, and unusually for the AHF this supported capital works. The Trust was established using the governance model for a building preservation trust, provided by the UK Association of Preservation Trusts in partnership with the AHF. We also provided advice on developing a fundraising strategy and putting together the case for financial support.