Brixton Windmill, built in 1816, is a Grade II* listed landmark and the only surviving windmill near the centre of London. Its 15m high brick tower has a rotating wooden cap that supports the sweeps (sails) so they can be turned to face into the wind.
Starting with John Ashby, Brixton Windmill was operated by different generations of the Ashby family throughout its working life, so it was known locally as Ashby’s Mill. The Ashby family supplied stoneground flour locally and also to Harrods and other West End stores.
In 1902 they installed a new modular mill with French burrstones powered by a steam engine, and milling continued until 1934. After that, the Ashby family wanted the windmill to be preserved as “a relic of bygone days in Brixton”. The windmill avoided demolition after the war and it was finally purchased by the London County Council and restored. Ownership later transferred to Lambeth Council.
Brixton Windmill was restored in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, but by 2002 it was on the English Heritage buildings at risk register. The Friends of Windmill Gardens were established in 2003 and campaigned for a major restoration, which was completed in 2011.
You can come and visit on one of the regular open days. And although now driven by electricity, the same millstones used by the Ashbys are being used again to produce wholemeal flour from locally sourced organic wheat. The flour is sold in several Brixton shops.