Getting involved in Brixton’s history

Ruby Gregory meets a young volunteer helping to preserve Brixton’s community history

woman standing outside windmill

Brixton Windmill volunteer Abigail Holsborough features in the latest episode of a food and farming podcast.

Who Feeds Us?, produced by Farmerama Radio, showcases under-represented voices from the industry.

When Covid-19 struck and flour was flying off supermarket shelves, fine art student Abigail began milling flour at the Windmill up to four times a week. 

Suddenly, everyone needed flour for their freshly made banana breads and sourdoughs. 

Abigail says the pandemic spotlighted food projects in the community and how people were increasingly relying on local food production. “There is a big lesson in getting to know the food that we are eating.”

One of the youngest volunteers at the Windmill, Abigail urges more young people to help: “When we are thinking about gentrification and the changes happening in Brixton specifically, it is really important for young people to get involved and help to preserve things in their community.”

Another of Abigail’s favourite heritage sites is London’s Postal Museum, based in an underground railway system, that documents the history of our post.

Over the first lockdown, Abigail became a trustee of Brixton Windmill, which has been London’s only windmill for more than 200 years, and now volunteers one day a week, but is still closely involved with projects there.

Farmerama co-producer Abby Rose says: “Often people in cities and urban environments like Brixton don’t realise what happens out in the fields.”

She set up Farmerama five years ago with Jo Barratt and splits time between London and her parents’ farm in Chile.

She hopes Who Feeds Us? will reach out to more young people and encourage its audience to learn about where their food comes from.

“I am very inspired by Abigail and what they’re doing at Brixton Windmill. It is a lot of work, but they are making it something that anyone can and will want to be a part of.” 

A dual heritage of Jamaican and Dominican ancestry inspires Abigail to visualise Brixton’s Caribbean cafes and restaurants one day using flour from the Windmill. 

It has already travelled as far as Scotland, where Abigail’s friend used it to make a popular Trinidadian delicacy known as doubles.

The next big task at the Windmill is to get through the current lockdown and help as many people as possible.

Abigail is staying positive about the ways the Windmill can help. 

Listen to Abigail in Whole Meal, episode four of Who Feeds Us

More about Abigail and the Windmill