Cambridge, Past, Present and future reopen the UK’s oldest windwill after three year closure.

From safeguarding historic buildings to preserving open spaces, recent research conducted by Civic Voice has revealed that civic societies play a crucial role in protecting local communities' unique character and identity. But their contribution doesn't stop there; they are also responsible for managing land and properties in their local areas. In fact, over 30 civic societies across England are currently involved in owning or managing various assets such as museums, woodlands, and nature reserves to ensure their protection and continued use for the benefit of the community.

What's truly remarkable is that many of these properties were at risk of being lost due to neglect or redevelopment, but civic societies have stepped in to save them. They tirelessly raise funds through grants, donations, and fundraising activities to maintain and improve these heritage assets, often engaging local residents through volunteer programs and community events.

One shining example of their impact is the recent reopening of the UK's oldest windmill, Bourn Windmill, in South Cambridgeshire. The windmill had been placed on the Heritage at Risk list due to possible collapse caused by rot discovered in the support beams. After closure and "significant and expensive work" on the mill, it was restored thanks to the efforts of Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CPPF), its owner, which led the fundraising campaign. Historic England hailed its reopening as a "nationally important landmark". Read more about this campaign here.

Congratulations to Cambridge Past, Present & Future and the outstanding contribution to protecting and enhancing Cambridge's local heritage!

Civic societies' impact extends beyond property management - they foster a sense of ownership and pride among local residents. By working closely with local communities and other stakeholders, civic societies are preserving the past and safeguarding the future. The list of civic societies and the properties they manage is impressive, ranging from Bath Preservation Trust's four museums to York Civic Trust's prestigious Fairfax House. However, few can boast of managing a windmill like Cambridge!

Read more about how civic societies are protecting local heritage via: