A year of celebrations planned for Brixton Windmill’s 200th anniversary
By Dee Byrne
Yes, Brixton has a Windmill! Not only does it have a windmill, but the windmill produces flour and, for the first time at a forthcoming Beer and Bread Festival taking place over the coming bank holiday 2 May from 1-5pm, the flour will be sold to the public. The free Beer and Bread Festival brings together local brewers, including Brixton Brewery and local bakers, such as the Old Post Office Bakery who will sell their wares with a percentage of takings for their beer and bread products raising money for the upkeep of the windmill.
This year Brixton Windmill is 200 years old, and as well as the Beer and Bread Festival, there are a series of events planned over the year to celebrate and mark the occasion. From the popular Art in the Park event, to Harvest Festival celebrations and the first ever open air film screening at the Windmill there are over 10 events planned.
Brixton Windmill’s history
Brixton Windmill was built in 1816 and was one of 12 windmills across Lambeth from Crystal Palace to the South Bank, sadly it’s the last windmill left in the borough. Also known as Ashby Mill, named after John Ashby who ran the windmill under a 99-year lease from 1817, the windmill has withstood two world wars, dereliction, and vandalism. The Ashby family milled flour at Brixton Windmill until it was closed in 1934. Today, after an extensive refurbishment funded by the Heritage Lottery and Lambeth Council in 2010, the windmill is officially milling flour again after sixty years!
Free Tours and Special Events throughout the summer
Throughout the summer, there are free tours of the windmill alongside the special events. Places are bookable online and due to limited space, only up to five people can take the tour at a time. The tour guides, take visitors through the history of the windmill and explain how the mill works.
Situated off Brixton Hill in Blenheim Gardens, a ten-minute walk from Brixton underground, the sight of the windmill is surprise to many even after 200 years. If you haven’t visited, and even if you have, make 2016 its bicentenary the year you discover Brixton Windmill. For further information on events and tours and, to book a tour, visit www.brixtonwindmill.org.
Where: Windmill Gardens, SW2 5EU