Haigh Windmill has won another award – this time on the national stage.
The newly restored mill, actually a windpump for an old brewery, has received a Green Apple Award in the category Building Conservation - Local Authority - Gold.
The project has been recognised by the independent Green Organisation, who present what are considered the most prestigious awards for environmentally-aware companies on the international platform.
John O’Neill, chair of the Greenheart Partnership Board, said: “This brings well-deserved recognition for combined efforts of the council, the architects and the craftsmen. It is also excellent news for the people of Haigh as an important landmark has been sensitively returned to its glory.”
Alan Kay of the Friends of Haigh Windmill said his group were delighted with the restoration: “This landmark building has been restored to as near its original design as is practically possible by Wigan Council, with the aid of Heritage Lottery Funding. There have been two previous restorations, but this is the first time in over seventy years that correctly designed sails have been attached, and the cap has had its weather-vane in place.”
Mr Kay added: “Congratulations on a job well done, and for bringing 'back to life' a building that was constructed in 1845, and is an important structure in the heritage of Haigh.”
Local sports commentator Phil Clarke opened the refurbished windmill last year.
Two years ago, Wigan Council successfully bid for £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair the 1845 structure, which had lost some of its sails and had badly decaying brickwork. Officers worked with the local friends group and one of the last Millwrights in the country. Wigan Council’s Environmental Education Team spent time in three local schools to teach children the history of the windmill ahead of it ‘unveiling’ last year.
The Green Apple judges said: "The high standard of entries to this year’s Built Environment & Architectural Heritage Awards shows that more and more organisations are placing sustainability high on their corporate agenda."
Earlier this year, the mill won the council’s own top design prize at the Urban Design Awards. The refurbishment competed against schemes including new and refurbished houses, schools and public art across the borough. One of the judges, deputy council leader Cllr David Molyneux, said: “We hope that by celebrating our winners it will lay down the challenge for builders and designers to build even better schemes in the future.”
Haigh Windmill is a major heritage feature in Wigan's Greenheart, the network of the borough’s finest countryside and open spaces stretching from Worthington Lakes to Leigh’s Pennington Flash, recently explored by HRH The Duke of Gloucester who opened new paths and facilities in Greenheart on his visit last week.
Guest of honour at the Green Apple Awards in London was Trevor Bayliss OBE, famous for the wind-up radio he patented two decades ago. Winners attended the ceremony from all over the world.