Shire Books has for many years published a pocket book on windmills, in its Discovering series. Shire Albums are the larger format
bretheren of that very successful series, and have now gained an album on Windmills. The author is Martin Watts, a working millwright
who has been researching, working, and restoring mills since the 1960's, and as one would expect, he has produced a very thorough and
useful introduction to the subject.
The book largely follows the subject matter of the earlier Discovering title, after all there is a certain amount of material that
all introductory books should cover, and the order of presentation is tried and tested.
A brief historical background is followed by an introduction to post, tower, and smock mills. More details follow on sails,
mechanisms to turn the mill into the wind, caps and curbs, and general machinery, before considering the job the mills did,
ranging from corn milling, through drainage, to agricultural and industrial use. This is concluded with coverage of the decline of windmills,
and their more recent preservation and restoration.
The rear of the book includes a glossary, suggestions for further reading (including some more detailed books by the same author),
and a list of over 100 UK windmills that can be visited.
This list includes web address for many of the mills, though quite a few of these are rather vague - for example all National Trust owned mills
simply reference the National Trust home page, rather than a page specifically about the particular mill. The only location information
provided for each mill, beyond its (place)name, is to group the mills by county, which can make locating the mills rather tricky -
the addition of grid references would have been very welcome.
The whole is illustrated with numerous colour photos, with very fine line drawings and plans to show some of the more technical arrangements
Windmills, Martin Watts, Shire Books.