Drapers Mill will be open to the public next weekend.
Drapers Windmill Trust, which is responsible for the day to day running and restoration, is taking part in the annual National Mills Weekend on Saturday, May 11 -open noon to 4pm – and Sunday May 12 – open 2pm to 4pm.
The Trust is celebrating the return to windpower of the mill following the major restoration works by Kent County Council during the last two years. There will be two special events during the weekend:
Hilderstone Radio Society will be using the mill as a giant aerial as part of Mills Across the World on both days; local amateur radio enthusiasts will talk over the airwaves to similar enthusiasts in other windmills..
The Trust for Thanet Archaeology will be running a pop-up museum on Saturday, from 2pm-4pm, celebrating the rich archaeological heritage of Thanet, which includes the immediate area close to the mill.
Light refreshments will be available for visitors on Saturday from noon.
A project to refurbish the cap and vane at Drapers Mill was completed last year.
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.
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.
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.
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.