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Norfolk windmill conversion a real home from home

PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:42 02 July 2010

Great Ellingham windmill which is being converted into part of a new build home for Mike and Jan May.

Great Ellingham windmill which is being converted into part of a new build home for Mike and Jan May.

Stephanie Brooks

It still needs a lick of paint, some flooring and lacks a few windows, but no-one could fail to see what a beautiful home this 19th century windmill conversion will be.

It still needs a lick of paint, some flooring and lacks a few windows, but no-one could fail to see what a beautiful home this 19th century windmill conversion will be.

After almost 23 years of research and planning, owners Michael and Jan May are just a couple of months away from finally moving into their long-awaited dream property.

The pair acquired the listed ruined building in Great Ellingham, near Attleborough, when they bought their present home, which is the next door mill house, in 1984.

For about two years the tower stood as a derelict feature in their back garden before Mrs May, who is an artist, decided she wanted to use the space inside as a studio.

What followed was more than 20 years of debate with restoration groups and the local authorities before the couple were eventually given the green light to turn the tower into a home, with a large extension, about 18 months ago. The builders moved in shortly after Easter last year.

Mrs May said the conversion has become quite a talking point within the village, and even children from the local primary school have made a trip to see the work taking place.

“When I go to the post office I have to take about half an hour to an hour because people want to ask about it,” she said.

“The village is really happy about it. If one of us is out and someone asks about it we invite them to come and have a look. People have come round and had lots of different ideas - they've been really helpful.”

Dating back to 1849, the mill tower originally had five storeys, a boat shaped cap and was 53ft tall. The Mays believe its sails were dismantled between 1913 and 1920, and the roof was taken off in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Looking for a new home? Visit www.homes24.co.uk

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