Hands-on history at the Wimbledon Windmill Museum

Did you know that Wimbledon Common is home to Britain’s only museum dedicated to windmills and wind power?

Situated inside the famous windmill on Wimbledon Common, the museum celebrates the 200-year history of one of Wimbledon’s most iconic landmarks. It’s packed with exhibits from the time, over 150 years ago, when the building was a working windmill. But the museum also traces the evolution of windmills around the world from their very earliest days, with dozens of working models and lots of opportunities for hands-on interaction.

When the building ended life as a working windmill in the 1860s it was converted into fairly cramped accommodation for local people. Today in the museum you can see a recreation of one of the rooms as it would have looked in 1871, when it was occupied by a miss Elizabeth Towne.

Of course wind power is becoming important once again, as a clean, carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels. The museum has several working models of modern wind turbines, which currently produce up to a quarter of the electricity used in the UK.

The Windmill has another claim to fame. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout Movement, lived in the mill house adjoining the windmill in the early part of the 20th century and in fact it was here that he wrote his famous work, Scouting for Boys. The museum includes a small exhibition of Baden-Powell memorabilia.

The museum is open from 1st April onwards, on Saturday afternoons from 2pm to 5pm, and on Sundays and bank holidays from 11am to 5pm. Entry is free, so the museum depends on volunteers and charitable donations to keep running. Trustee Richard Ing is always on the lookout for fresh volunteers. To find out more about the museum, express an interest in volunteering or make a donation head over to the museum’s website at https://www.wimbledonwindmill.org.uk/

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