A windmill built more than 200 years ago which has become one of Worcestershire's most cherished historic structures will require urgent salvation efforts after museum staff returned for the new year to find "horrifying" damage caused by recent fierce storms.
© Mike Goodwin
A sail of the windmill, which was just days away from returning to action in the culmination of a £3,000 project at the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, was entirely snapped off, piercing the roof of the lower section as it fell.
The late 18th century design is the last surviving example of a post mill from Warwickshire, having originally been resurrected at the museum after it was rescued from Danzey Green, near Tanworth-in-Arden, during the late 1960s.
© Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings
"As an independent charitable museum which collects buildings there is always a long ongoing maintenance plan, but unexpected damage such as this sometimes has to take priority," said Simon Carter, the director of the Bromsgrove heritage venue, who admitted repairs would have "a major impact on the museum’s resources".
"It was horrifying to return to work and find the windmill in such a state.
"The repair and restoration costs of looking after historic buildings at Avoncroft can be much higher than for museums where their collections are safely stored in galleries and display cases."
A new wheel on the windmill was about to have been augmented by the replacement of the mechanism on a new tail pole, but planners are hopeful it will be able to mill again and produce flour later this year.
Offers of support and help provided some comfort on the museum's Facebook page, with momentum for the restoration effort boosted by coverage on local television and radio shows.
Repairs are expected to cost around £5,000.