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On Wimbledon Common there is a Windmill, Baden Powell lived in the mill house for a time and spent time writing part of Scouting for Boys in during 1908.

The Windmill

The Windmill on Wimbledon Common has been a distinctive landmark since it was built in 1817 to serve the local community. However, it only operated until 1864 due to a land dispute, when the machinery was removed and it was converted to residential accommodation.

The Windmill was constructed as a hollow post mill, which is very unusual for this country, although quite common in Holland. The name “hollow post” derives from the fact that the shaft driving the machinery passes through the hollowed out core of the main supporting post. With the passing of the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act in 1871, the Windmill came into the hands of the Conservators. The building they inherited was in very poor condition and by 1890 it was in danger of collapse. A public appeal was launched and in 1893 major repairs were carried out.

Further repairs were carried out in 1952 and in 1967 but it wasn’t until 1974 when the cottages in the roundhouse were vacated that the true extent of the rot within the timbers was discovered and extensive repairs were now necessary and an appeal was launched to raised £20,000. The mill was turned into a museum in 1975. In 1999 a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the Patent sails to be restored to working order. One of the smaller apartments is preserved within the current museum. It is no longer a working mill, but the mill machinery is still largely intact.

During World War II, the mill was camouflaged with a drab green scheme to reduce its visibility as it was in close proximity to army camps set up on the Common, at the conclusion of the war the mill was repainted again to remove it’s drab green colour