The cap and vane at Drapers Mill refurbished to former glory

Fitting the cap and vane in place Photo Frank Leppard

A project to refurbish the cap and vane at Drapers Mill in Margate has been completed.

The windmill cap was removed in December 2016 by IJP Millwrights of Henley-on-Thames in order to replace the rotten weatherbeam and carry out other essential repairs.

The restored cap and vane have now been returned to pride of place at the top of the windmill.

Drapers Mill was built in 1845 by John Holman, a millwright from Canterbury.

There were originally three mills on the site, two to grind corn and one to pump water. Little Draper’s stood next door to the surviving mill and the Pumper was where the allotments to the rear of the mill now exist.

The mill was worked by wind power until 1916 and then by a 20 horsepower gas engine until the late 1930s, with the sweeps and fantail being removed in 1927.

Photo Frank Leppard

In 1965 the mills were threatened with demolition due to disrepair but then headmaster of Drapers Mills School, Mr Towes, helped establish the Drapers Windmill Trust and  secured the restoration and future of Drapers Mill.

In 1968 the Kent Education Committee acquired the mill, which was restored at a cost of over £2000. The fantail was replaced in 1970 with one pair of sweeps following in December 1971. The second pair of sweeps were fitted in the autumn of 1974.

Photo Frank Leppard

The mill is now in the care of Kent County Council which is fully supported by the Drapers Windmill Trust. The Trust is responsible for the day to day running and restoration with larger projects financed by the authority,

Drapers Mill opens up to the public at weekends during the Summer.

Find out more on the Trust website here

Photos by Frank Leppard