B&FC engineering students enlisted to restore historic sails at local windmill

Published on 08/02/2018 by pfi

Students from Blackpool and The Fylde College have been asked to help restore an ageing sail at Marsh Mill windmill to create a lasting exhibition piece.

When the new sails were installed at the Thornton landmark as part of a Wyre Council restoration in 2015, part of one of the old sails was left in the mill. With rusted shutters and peeling paint, it looked ready for the scrap heap.

But College engineering students have stepped in to create new hinge pins so that the old shutters can be moved and illustrate for visitors how the sails gather the wind.

The idea came from Friends of Marsh Mill committee member Peter Tarrant who enlisted David Porter, a former engineering training officer at BNFL who worked at B&FC as a lecturer for some time.

David contacted Engineering Curriculum Leader Adam Plummer to enlist the students’ help in replacing the badly corroded hinge pins to allow the sail to work as an exhibition piece. Adam said:

“We were delighted to get involved as the project really allows our students to see how mechanical techniques used hundreds of years ago apply the same principals as many engineering applications today.

“They are working on some new hinge pins which allow them to take an old failing piece of equipment and work backwards to replicate it and create a replacement which will last for years to come. These are skills they will use throughout their careers.

“As well as getting some hands-on practical experience, this project allows our students to get involved in an important community endeavour and help preserve an important piece of our local history.”

David added:

“The students have to do live work experience as well as learning techniques in College. They have already done some work at Blackpool Illuminations and I thought this was another ideal project for them to get involved in.”

Marsh Mill was built in 1794 on the instructions of Lord of the Manor, Bold Fleetwood Hesketh, and is the best-preserved windmill in the north west of England, with much of its original machinery still intact.

It is planned to include the sail as a working exhibition piece in a museum about the windmill’s history.

B&FC runs engineering courses at various levels for school leavers, adult students and degree-level learners. A wide variety of engineering apprenticeships are also available.

Contact the College on 01253 504343 or by email for more details.

Adam Plummer with B&FC student Harry Martin and David Porter at Marsh Mill
Adam Plummer with B&FC student Harry Martin and David Porter at Marsh Mill