The Windmill: An update

I am still continuing to volunteer once a week at Dereham Windmill. Like some others, I had thought that this would prove to be fertile ground for blog posts, but as I have seen very few visitors, and mostly worked with the same two other volunteers, there has been little to inspire me, to be honest.

We recently had the burial of a time capsule on the site. A new cafe and community hall has been built next to the old windmill, and before the connecting path was completed, a large container was buried under the slabs. The contents mainly concern the history of the building and recent restoration, as well as including small projects from the local Northgate High School, and a contribution from Autism Anglia. As well as drawings and typed sheets, a DVD film of the work was added, and it is hoped that this will give some insight into life in 2015, when it is opened. Representatives form Autism Anglia came along, as well as most of the Trustees of the windmill project, and some pupils from the school. They each placed a shovel of earth on the capsule, before the hole was filed in and covered. There was a small speech, and lots of photographs were taken too.

I was surprised that the date set for opening the capsule is the year 2100. This is only 85 years away, and I would have thought that 150 years might have made the contents more interesting. I did remark that as I will be aged 148 when the capsule is disinterred, I might need some help to get along to the ceremony. The event was well reported in our local newspaper, The Dereham Times, receiving a full page spread, with accompanying photos. I like the idea of time capsules, as they are so much more civilised than exhuming the bones and artifacts of our dead ancestors, in the hope of discovering how they lived their everyday lives. I would have included some takeaway menus, so they could marvel at how badly many people eat these days, some printouts from Facebook, so they could see how mundane life can be, and a copy of a TV listings magazine, so they could see how easily pleased most viewers are.
http://www.derehamwindmill.co.uk/burying-time-capsule-20th-may/

The new cafe opens on the 20th June. There will be hot and cold drinks, pre-wrapped cakes and snacks, and more importantly, toilet facilities. At the same time, the Wednesday opening will be dropped, and changed to Friday. This gives the weekend opening more flow, and will hopefully attract more visitors. There is also a dedicated car park, with spaces for disabled drivers, and the hope is that the upgrading of the site and facilities will place the windmill firmly on the list of local visitor attractions, and places to see in the area.

After a great deal of hard work, the money from grants and charities, and the dedication of those who started it all in the first place, I sincerely hope that all the effort is rewarded.

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19 thoughts on “The Windmill: An update

  1. I just hope someone remembers to put a DVD player in a museum 🙂 Hope the café brings in more visitors though a decent cook providing fresh salads and soups, quiches and home-made cakes would be an improvement on pre-wrapped cakes, crisps and coke 😦

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    1. If they undertake to serve ‘proper’ meals, they have to have a hygiene licence, a council inspection, as well as full staff training, protective clothing, and food standards authority approval. It is all a bit much, with just volunteers and a very limited budget. They did want to do it though, and have said that if there is enough demand, they will extend the items offered. The cakes and cookies will all be home-made by volunteers, better than nothing, I suppose.

      We mentioned that there might be nothing to play the DVD on in 85 years, but they were sure that there would be some new technology available to read the signal on old DVD films. Let’s hope they just don’t laugh at it, and use it as a coaster! x

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    1. I agree that 85 years is longer than many lifetimes Arlene, but in the vastness of the future to come, let’s hope it is long enough. The cafe should generate more visitors, let’s hope it does.
      Best wishes from England. Pete.

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  2. I have found quite a few pairs of shoes, old stockings and the occasional bone of unknown origin whilst digging over the garden in the past, and nobody can say what happened to the previous owner of the old house!
    I almost think that time capsules should be left in the ground until found and then the finder would wonder why someone had bothered to put it there in the first place, ‘what an odd collection of items’
    Keep up the good work Pete.
    All the best The Winkos.

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    1. Cheers Eddy. It would be nice to find a time capsule randomly popping up in a field, or during a house renovation. We could all buy one, and dig them into our gardens, or wedge them in the loft extension. Perhaps I should market the idea? Personal Time Capsules.com
      As ever, Pete.

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  3. Pete, a lovely post about the time capsule, and your work at the windmill. I hope interest picks up for you ~ giving you many more blogs about the beautiful windmill and the goings on there.

    Laura

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  4. I’m sorry to hear you are becoming discouraged, but more and more interest in the past is growing on a daily basis. I would make certain that newspapers and travel blogs know of what’s available. Things will pick up for sure and you should be very proud of your work!

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  5. Congrats on your hard work and all involved. Time capsules are a wonderful idea–I wouldn’t be too worried about 85 years passing and future generations discovering today’s objects intriguing. Think about 1900 to 2000, or even the last 25 years how much things have changed. AT the rapid rate of change, I think 2100 will be very altered, indeed! Nice post, Pete.

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    1. With all the technological advances, I am sure that you are right Cindy. It is just that if it was my decision, I would aim more for ‘Roman’ than ‘Victorian’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. Some of us may be tempted to create a time capsule to be buried along with our body. What would each of us choose to include in the capsule? By the way, we can now attend our own funeral as a hologram. Perhaps that could be included in the capsule as well, as well as a video of people at the funeral watching our hologram speak to them.

    Kudos for continuing to volunteer at the Dereham Windmill. It sounds like a lot of effort, but the community is clearly interested in making it a regional attraction.

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