Bourn Windmill

To promote a wider understanding and appreciation of the construction industry

Best conservation / adaptation under £2m: Highly commended: Bourn Windmill

In this category there was one winner and one commendation.


Client: Cambridge Past, Present & Future

Architect:  Tim Buxbaum Architect

Structural Engineer: The Morton Partnership

Millwright: MillBill (Bill Griffiths)

Main Contractor: Bakers of Danbury.

Specialist Scaffolder: ProFlat.

Quantity Surveyor: Philip Pank & Partners

Heritage Advice: Historic England & Cambridgeshire Windmills Consultancy

Engagement: Cambridgeshire ACRE

Project Team Support: Dedicated volunteers from the local community

Photography: Matthew Power


Judges Comments

“This is a truly remarkable project, which had us enthralled from start to finish.  Bourn Windmill – an elevated Post Mill – is the oldest surviving windmill in the country, and dates at least from the sixteenth century (proven by dendrochronology on the central post). It uses a twelfth century technology which was later superseded by ‘grounded’ mills, so represents a particularly unusual survival.  Restoration was urgently necessary after the discovery of rot and failing resin which had been injected into the wooden cross beams which support the mill.  The process was incredibly complex and risky, requiring the suspension of the mill (effectively jacking it up) on temporary struts while the repairs were carried out.  The team who did the work – including a volunteer former miller, local people and the contractors, Bakers of Danbury, formed a strong bond and had to respond to what they found as the work progressed.  It’s an object lesson in what love and expertise can achieve.  We simply loved this project and found it difficult to compare it with any of our other entries.   It is a deeply impressive historic restoration, with community involvement, to restore a working mill, which we were blessed to experience as it spins with renewed confidence and perfect balance in action.”