When you are immersed in a labour of love as complex, physically demanding and time consuming as the restoration of a Victorian windmill, it’s a big help if ancillary projects are kept as simple as possible.
It’s taken 24 years and a lot of cash, for former architect, Peter Grix, to get the sails of Hardley Windmill, on the banks of the River Yare in Norfolk, turning again.
Part of the project was the establishment of a visitor centre, where people can rest up, learn the history of the 130 year old drainage mill and get a cup of tea.
To meet the requirements of funding organisations and Local Authorities, the visitor centre had to meet tough environmental standards.
After extensive research, Peter chose a modular timber structure from Passmores Portable Buildings Limited of Strood, Kent. His choice was influenced by Passmores’ willingness to work closely with him and produce modifications to the building which enabled him to achieve his aims.
The result is an energy efficient, olive grey, single storey building with a sedum roof and rainwater harvesting facilities.
“The modular approach gave us more options to achieve the kind of building we wanted” said Peter.
“Passmores made useful suggestions and there were fixed prices for everything, so we knew what we were going to end up paying”.
“Now we have a pleasant, well lit hall, where we can hold meetings, functions and fund raising activities, as well as accommodate an increasing number of visitors”.
The project wasn’t straightforward.
Although the sedum roof is attractive, absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provides excellent insulation, it is also very heavy, especially after a downpour. Passmores put in extra roof trusses and beefed up the wall construction to cope with this.
Extra insulation material was fitted inside the roof and the wall cavities to meet the exacting requirements of the Local Authority.
Now Peter’s windmill restoration project is nearing completion. Next year will see its first full season as an attraction. For further information on the project go to www.hardley-windmill.org.uk.
The visitor centre complements it visually and will provide a pleasant and comfortable environment in which people can discover how the mill operates and learn about its historic role in draining the surrounding farmland.
Passmores provides a range of attractive timber buildings popularly used as club houses, sports pavilions, stables, garages and offices, as well as visitor centres. By working in partnership with customers, the company is able to combine the cost effectiveness of factory based prefabricated construction with individual and very specific requirements.