Couple restoring 230-year-old windmill into family home
- Credit: NEIL DIDSBURY
A couple have breathed new life into an historic Norfolk windmill and have their sights set on turning it into a family home.
The 230-year-old Sutton windmill, near Stalham, had been derelict for 15 years before the Smart family intervened.
Kyle Smart and his partner Lisa Smith bought the Grade II listed windmill, which is one of the tallest in the country, in 2018.
Mr Smart, 28, was on holiday in the Maldives when he saw the property on an auction site.
"I'd been renovating and converting barns at work, and I fancied a bigger project," said Mr Smart.
He added: "We really wanted a challenge, and we plan on converting the granary into our family home."
Since then, they have been hard at work, landscaping the property, making sure the mill is watertight and putting on a new cap.
- 1 Police arrest man in Gorleston murder probe
- 2 Opening date confirmed for new Sports Direct in town's former M&S
- 3 Man stabbed victim in chest with screwdriver at cemetery
- 4 'Trauma cafe' taking shape in former high street electrical shop
- 5 Amazing photos show storms over Norfolk – and there are more to come
- 6 Murder victim's brother: 'Please help find my beloved sister's killer'
- 7 Cat food brands recalled over link to fatal disease
- 8 Plan for third stand at coastal football ground
- 9 Holiday homes bid for site of former landmark hotel
- 10 Sinkhole appears on busy coastal bus route in Gorleston
Their plan is to fully renovate the windmill and hopefully attach new sails using locally sourced materials.
Mr Smart and Miss Smith, 38, raised the funds for the renovation themselves.
The couple also had their hands full raising their two sons, Ellis and Oscar, while renovating the property.
Mr Smart added: "Ellis loves the windmill.
"He keeps going back to the mill, and we're hoping in many years to come, he will take over its upkeep."
The family hope to add holiday lets to the site, as well as another residence.
Mr Smart gave thanks to North Norfolk District Council, which "helped enormously" when the Smarts were putting on the cap of the windmill.
Sutton Windmill was originally built in 1789 with eight floors.
However, after a fire in 1861, an extra floor was added to the property.
After ceasing operation as a working windmill, the site became a museum in 1975.
The previous owner closed the museum in 2008, and it was left standing with an uncertain future.
In January 2014, a section of the Weavers Way public footpath running beside the mill was diverted to protect walkers from possible injury due to storm damage on the windmill's sails.
And the North Norfolk District Council was targeting the auction as part of an action plan to restore 'eyesore' buildings.
The building remained in its state for another four years before Mr Smart purchased it in a Sowerby's auction in 2018.