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Image: Jeff Thomas

Robbed of Wind!

Years 4-6

The year is 1861 and the Ashby family – the millers at Brixton Windmill – are not happy. Their windmill is being robbed of wind.

Discover their story and find out how the growth of London changed life in Brixton Hill. Use costumes and hot seating to find out about working life in and around the windmill. Look at maps, drawings, census returns and photographs to find out how different people felt about the changes to their area. Finish with a lively historical debate about whether or not development of the area should continue.

Children will handle wheat, flour and bread; help to grind some flour; and visit the lower floors of the Windmill.


This session plan is designed to cover an outreach visit to the school followed by a class visit to Brixton Windmill.

Age group: Years 4-6

Duration: Outreach session 1.5 hours, windmill session 1.5 hours

Cost: £80 (Lambeth schools); £120 (non-Lambeth schools)

Learning objectives

Pupils will:

  • ask questions to find out how people worked at the windmill
  • use a range of sources to find out how Brixton Hill changed in the 19th century
  • look at changes to the local area from different perspectives
  • debate the benefits and disadvantages of change and development
  • understand that flour comes from wheat and how it is made.

National Curriculum links

  • History (local history; questioning and comparing)
  • Geography (interpreting sources; map reading; changes in land use)
  • Design and Technology (cooking and nutrition)
  • Citizenship

"It was terrific…at the right level and also included some challenge for all the children (more and less able)…all 4 stated objectives were covered and achieved…the children…were engaged and interested throughout…Classroom teaching, even with modern resources and access to the internet, cannot match the learning children achieve by visiting, seeing, touching and engaging with real artefacts and a working windmill."

Year 4 teacher