As well as the grade II* Brixton Windmill, Windmill Gardens is home to the Brixton Windmill Centre. Built by Lambeth Council next to the windmill and leased to the Friends, the centre opened early in 2020 and is used as a visitor centre for Brixton Windmill, an education space, and a community venue that can be hired by local people.
The park also contains
The Friends want to provide more recreation facilities for young people. The playground has been upgraded (February 2023) and we are now thinking about what we can provide for teens.
You can read about these proposals in the annual management plan produced by Lambeth Landscapes in consultation with the Friends.
Every year the Friends organise a varied programme of community events in the park, including:
The management plan includes ideas for new planting areas in the park as well as ways to improve some of the established flower beds and borders. All these planted areas are designed to encourage wildlife and insects improving the biodiversity of the park.
Over recent years volunteers from the Friends have planted soft fruit and native hedge bushes along the north boundary fence and a small wildflower meadow behind the windmill, creating another butterfly and bee-friendly area in the park. We intend to increase the number of fruit trees in the park and plant more hops along the boundary fence behind the windmill. We look forward to harvesting the hops and hope to contribute the harvest to the local Brixton Beer project.
In 1957 the London County Council bought Brixton Windmill and the surrounding land previously owned by the Ashby family so that the historic windmill could be preserved and enjoyed by local people.
Three years later Lambeth Council purchased a small piece of land from the Metropolitan Water Board as well as No.47 Blenheim Gardens. The following year they bought No.49, the former Mill House. These acquisitions were laid out as Windmill Gardens, which opened in 1962.
The restoration of the windmill began the next year, and Brixton Windmill (known locally as Ashby’s Mill) was opened to the public on the Easter weekend of 1968. Today the windmill and Windmill Gardens are maintained by Lambeth Landscapes, the council’s in-house parks department.