Sunderland’s Fulwell Mill has reopened recently as a visitors’ attraction.
The striking landmark is a significant cultural asset because it stands as a monument to the historical industry it served, and the unique structure could again serve as a place to learn about the industrial history of Sunderland.
Sunderland City Council and Historic England paid for the restoration. Sunderland City Council said in a statement: “The restoration project is a partnership between Sunderland City Council which provided £310,000 in funding and Historic England who awarded £99,200 of grant funding towards the £400,000 costs of repair and restoration.
“The cap of Fulwell Mill was lifted by a 200-tonne heavy crane and placed on top of the tower of the historical building. Skilled, traditional craftsmen from specialist millwright Owlsworth IJP completed the cap and fantail. The cap and fantail weigh approximately ten tonnes, are based on the original, early 19th Century design and are made of oak.”
Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “The crane lifting the cap and fantail into place at Fulwell Mill is a fantastic sight, and the result of a lot of hard work from all those involved.
“We can now all look forward to the sails being put in place and restoring the windmill to the city skyline, and returning one of our most loved landmarks to its former glory.”
It was closed as a visitor attraction in 2012 because of storm damage, with the cap and sails later removed in 2015 because of their fractured condition.
Since 2012, the council has been working with Beaumont Brown Conservation Architects and Bonwick Milling Heritage Consultancy on the restoration scheme approved by Historic England.
But the significance of Sunderland’s Fulwell Mill is not only in its manufacturing heritage, it is also its civic and educational appeal.
Sunderland North Community Business Centre (SNCBC), is currently developing the building with a range of attractions and activities and has completed works to the visitor centre to convert it into a café and community facility.