Restoring Horsey Windpump

the brown wind shaft and break wheel being lifted from Horsey Windpump by a large yellow crane

In March 2016 we kicked off an ambitious and exciting three phase restoration project at Horsey that will not only see the sails replaced, but aims to restore the Windpump to full working order. 

Four years ago in 2014 the sails were removed from Horsey Windpump after they become rotten and started to fall apart. Now work is being carried out to bring this Windpump back to life, a stepping-stone towards getting her fully operational and working in the Norfolk landscape once more.

The sails were removed from Horsey Windpump in April 2014
a crane removing a sail from Horsey Windpump
The sails were removed from Horsey Windpump in April 2014

The current cap from which the sails were removed is rotten and was removed, from the top of the tower by a sixty tonne crane on 30 March 2016 and placed on the ground beside it, ready to be loaded onto a lorry and transported to our millwright’s workshop.  

The cap being lifted from Horsey Windpump
the cap being lifted from the horsey windpump tower by a big yellow crane
The cap being lifted from Horsey Windpump

Over the course of the last year, the cap and structure has been repaired and conserved and the sails are being re-made to a historic pattern.

The National Trust has committed to spending £244,000 to complete phase one which will see the cap and sails reinstated. The new cap will rotate to face the sails into the wind giving a different view of Horsey Windpump every single day.

In May 2017 on a lovely warm, sunny day the newly conserved and repaired cap was lifted back onto Horsey Windpump watched by 150 people. It was a rather nerve wracking day for Millwright Tim Whiting and his team as the whole weight of the cap and brake wheel were unknown but a 130 tonne crane - the largest available - expertly lifted the cap in one go and after a short period of it dangling above the tower it was successfully lowered onto the tower.

The newly restored cap is lifted up towards Horsey Windpump by a 130 tonne crane in May 2017
the large round wooden cap is hung from a large green crane arm as it is lifted up towards the red brick tower of Horsey Windpump against a blue sky
The newly restored cap is lifted up towards Horsey Windpump by a 130 tonne crane in May 2017

The cap required some bedding in time to ensure it was able to wind (turn) correctly and then once the sail frames, stocks and clamps were completed, they were ready to be lifted. Unfortunately due to a very wet winter, the ground conditions meant a crane could not be brought on site as it would likely sink into the ground. A new plan was required and a method never used before. 

Over three very cold days in mid-February the stocks, clamps and sail frames were lifted back onto Horsey Windpump using a lorry HIAB with the millwright team often working into the night. 

The last sail frame is installed on Horsey Windpump
the windpump has got three white sails already installed and the fourth is being fitted using a crane on the back of a lorry. This is reflected in water in front of the red brick tower and the sky is going pink as the sun sets
The last sail frame is installed on Horsey Windpump

Phase two will also commence in 2018 which will see the shutters and striking gear fitting to the sails meaning their speed can be better controlled and help to keep this iconic Norfolk Broads building in operation.

Latest updates

23 Feb 18

Horsey's new sails are installed

With much fanfare and relief, the stocks, clamps and sails were finally installed on Horsey Windpump. During three very cold days the millwright team worked very hard, sometimes into the night, to ensure the lift was completed by the end of the week.

the red brick tower is lit up by flood lights in the dark, you can see the four new sails and the reflection in the water in front

24 Nov 17

Cap is winded for the first time

Horsey's cap is now able to be winded (turned) by hand and is facing the other way for the first time in over six months. This is a momentous occasion as it is important that the cap can wind correctly when the sails are fitted and turning.

a sunset photo of horsey windpump reflected in the water of the staithe with reeds on the right of the photo

24 Oct 17

Millwrights just hanging around!

This week millwright Tim Whiting has been fitting the new petticoat onto the cap of Horsey Windpump. This requires a real head for heights as he has to hang off the building on a rope whilst working.

The millwright is hanging off the side of the red brick tower of Horsey Windpump underneatth the white wooden cap