MOULTON Mill had a “Titanic moment” when the band played on during torrential rain at the restoration celebrations.
Sunday’s opening ceremony marked the mill’s return to working order after a 14-year project costing £1.7m.
The 100ft (30m) mill, one of the tallest in the UK, lost its original sails after they were damaged in a gale in 1995 and new ones were fitted in November last year.
More than 500 people braved the weather to become the first in living history to see the sails turn again.
Project manager Janet Prescott said: “Kirton Town Band played in the marquee outside and showed real Titanic spirit in the torrential rain.
“It feels surreal now the project is complete after 14 years – but now the real hard work starts to keep it running.”
Mrs Prescott said they were fortunate to complete the project before zero rating on listed new builds was abolished, which would have added £350,000 to the cost of the project. But the mill stands to be hit hard should charity rate relief be abolished.
She said: “Running costs are £12,000 a year before we open the doors to the public and if they abolish the rate relief for charities it will add another £3,500. At £4 adult entry, that means we would need an extra 3,000 people through the door a year.”
Lincolnshire County Council’s refusal to allow brown signs to the mill from the A16 and A17 is not helping visitor numbers. Mrs Prescott said: “We have been applying to have the signs for seven years and in the end got them for one day for the ceremony by applying through the AA. It just seems like double standards to me – there are brown signs everywhere to council attractions.”
One new attraction at the mill will be the sale of its own flour. Mrs Prescott said: “We are sourcing grain at the moment and are about a month away from grinding our own, which will go on sale and be used in our cafe.”
For details, visit www.moultonwind mill.co.uk