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Haigh-Day of the Windmill
Thursday 9th June, 2011

It’s Greater Manchester’s last surviving windmill – and it’s now looking better than it has done for many years.

The unique landmark on the Haigh estate north of Wigan has been a fixture since 1845 - and as everyone locally knows, it’s actually not a windmill but a pump once used to move water into the Haigh Brewery’s reservoir. And it had seen better days.

Now, thanks to £60,000 of funding from partners Wigan Council, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, Haigh Parish Council and the local friends group, via the Heritage Lottery Fund, the damaged brickwork and missing sails have now been repaired by a specialist millwright. Vincent Pargeter, who gave up a job in a bank in the 1960s, is one of the few professional millwrights in the country and his timeless but rare skills have successfully revived the mill.

To celebrate the completion of the restoration project a special event is being held on Saturday 11 June at St David’s Church Hall, Copperas Lane, just up the road from the windmill. The newly-elected Mayor, Cllr Joy Birch, will preside and family fun activities including:
  • Making mini windmills
  • Drawing windmill designs onto t-shirts
  • Painting windmill designs on plant pots
  • Windmill badge making, biscuit shapes and drawing
  • Making hanging baskets
  • Raffle and tombola

The council’s neighbourhood teams have worked with pupils from the three local primary schools: St David’s C.E., Our Lady’s R.C. and Aspull Church. The children have had history lessons about windmills and food production, visited the Southport Eco-Centre to learn about modern wind turbines, as well as creating a mosaic of local Wigan landmarks which will itself become a display on the hillside on the same road as the windmill. The restoration project has highlighted the value of Wigan's countryside and the Greenheart project to develop and promote access to our green areas.

Cllr Kevin Anderson, the council’s environment champion, says: “It has been disused for decades but the windmill is an iconic building that adds much to the rural scene in Haigh. It’s great to see it back, and we are fortunate to have had successful funding to ensure the millwright can successfully restore the mill.”

John O’Neill, Chair of the Greenheart Partnership Board and the borough wide Environment and Heritage Network, added: “The end of the windmill's working life came about in the 1930's when Haigh brewery closed and was demolished. But it remains a key gateway feature in the north of Greenheart. The result of this project to restore and repair the building's fabric is already proving very popular in the feedback received from local people and visitors to the area.”
After Saturday’s celebration, the next date in the Haigh Diary is Sunday 21 August. The popular Haigh Show is being held in the field by the windmill and a new windmill trail through the picturesque countryside and information display about the restoration work will be formally opened.

Lynne France, Deputy Head at St David’s C.E. Primary says: “This project has provided a brilliant opportunity for all the children from the 3 schools to get together and learn more about the local environment. They learned a lot about the history of the windmill and we are really lucky to have the windmill so close to our school”


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