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At 12 noon on Saturday 10th May 2008 (during National Mills Weekend) Jack and Jill Windmills Society was presented with a plaque by the Mills Section of SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings). This is the second major award made to our Society, for in 1986 we received the Dorothea Award for Conservation.

Presentation of SPAB plaque to Jack and Jill Windmills Society - photos by Philip Hicks and Paul Barber
Photos: Philip Hicks and Paul Barber

The award was presented by Jim Woodward-Nutt, chairman of SPAB Mills Section.

These prestigious plaques are awarded to those mill conservation and restoration projects that closely follow the SPAB philosophy of repair and in recognition of the high quality of the restoration of mills back to working order.

The vast majority of restoration and ongoing maintenance of Jill Windmill has been carried out by Society volunteers.

From 1935 SPAB Mills Section have awarded Windmill Certificates and, from 1979, Watermill Certificates to individuals.

Awarding of plaques began in 1991 in order to recognise outstanding work done on a specific mill, where this was done by several or a group of people and where a certificate to an individual would not be appropriate. Up to May 2008 just sixteen other plaques had been awarded.

The criteria for awarding a plaque is based on how closely the restoration accords with the SPAB Mills Section Philosophy of Repair and on the standard of workmanship achieved.

The following are also taken into account:
The extent to which local people and other enthusiasts have participated in the work.
The financial resources and manpower available.
A repair achieved under difficult circumstances.
The arrangements for ongoing maintenance and the long term future of the mill.
Any other special circumstances.

In 1986 the Society was awarded the Dorothea Award for Conservation as a result of the illustrated application that Donald Chamberlain put together on the Society's behalf.

Donald's report in our "Remolo" newsletter had the unforgettable title of "Stray dog boosts National Award Entry".

Dorothea Plaque awarded to Jack and Jill Windmills Society - photo by Simon Potter
Photo by Simon Potter

Donald went on to explain that the adjudicator of the award had at one time lived in Birkenhead. The purchaser of his old house rang to say that a stray dog persisted in hanging around and wondered whether it was the adjudicator's pooch returned home. It wasn't his dog, but it led to the remark that there was a parcel that had been delivered there for some months earlier. That parcel contained our application for the award !