City windmill is up for sale again

An iconic Preston landmark which has seen better times is to be auctioned with an asking price of £135,000 plus.

Wednesday, 15th February 2017, 5:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 12:47 pm
Craggs Mill can be seen right in this aerial view of a changing Preston

The winds of change have not been kind to Craggs Mill off Moor Lane - the city’s only remaining windmill.

Back in 2008 the Post reported how the Grade II listed building was to be turned into two luxury apartments.

Businessman Jonathan Ruff was originally given planning permission to convert the 18th century mill and had wanted to turn it into a headquarters for his firm, until building and renovation costs made the project untenable.

As it was - this photo from Preston Digital Archive shows Craggs Mill on Craggs Row and neighbouring Harrison's Hill

He had hoped to add a three-storey glass extension and make sure the building was a 24 hour attraction by lighting it up day and night.

When he bought the already derelict building he had predicted: “It’s an amazing building and it’s going to be 3,500sq ft of luxury office accommodation.”

Now planning permission has lapsed and Mr Ruff has put the disused property, which was built in 1760, back on the market.

Nicola Lindsay, Branch Manager of Reeds Rains estate agents on Fishergate, Preston, which is marketing the building, predicted there will be be a lot of interest in the site which now stands in the middle of part of the UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) campus and will be sold through an on line auction.

As it was - this photo from Preston Digital Archive shows Craggs Mill on Craggs Row and neighbouring Harrison's Hill

Noting its development potential she acknowledged: “It’s in a very bad state of repair at the moment. It’s obviously a development project for somebody.”

It has been a long time since the mill served its original purpose. It lost its sails in 1880 and has since served a variety of roles - from a piano workshop to a garage and an overflow prison. During the war it was used as a cinema.

It may be hard to imagine now but at one time Preston and neighbouring Fylde were dubbed “windmill land” because of the high number of windmills here. Author, journalist, publisher and newspaper proprietor Charles Allen Clarke, who was born in 1863, penned a walking book entitled “The Land of Windmills” - a title inspired by the 40 windmills in the area.

When his granddaughter Shirley Matthews sought to republish his book some years ago she noted: “What annoys me is that people don’t know there’s a windmill in Preston.”