Map/aerial photo of the area around the mill
- surviving base rebuilt as residential/business structure
The brick built octagonal smock base which survived empty for many years was subject to a planning application in Feb 2006, in order to
convert the base into one flat, with a rebuilt smock above for another flat, and an extension building alongside containing a third
flat. The application was approved, and construction started later on in 2006.
Via documents submitted as part of the planning application, we learn:
The foundations of the base are about 1.5m below ground, and stand on flat timber baulks around the perimeter, and also at
right angles to the centres of the octagonal faces
"Construction of the Rides mill was commenced in 1813 by a James Humphrey and was built to its current height before the builder
went into liquidation. The upper section of the mill and the surrounding buildings were completed in 1816.
The mill is very similar to the Union Mill in Cranbrook which was completed 2 years earlier.
Originally wind powered with 4 sweeps (sails) and 3 mill stones the mill eventually changed to steam power around 1889 and then
used 5 sets of stones and steel rollers.
The mill ceased production in 1918 and by 1924 the miller had moved out of the premises and the sections of the mill
and surroundinng buildings housing the equipment were dismantled and sold.
The 1920 conveyance indicates No 109 the High Street as the "Corn Shop" with access to the mill
through an archway under the over sailing buildings (now removed).
The building is currently a grade II listed structure."
The design for the reconstruction is based on details of Cranbrook mill.
The extension building is designed to recreate the former buildings that surrounded the mill,
and reflects the window proportions and details of the early 19th century.
The brick base will be tar painted externally (as it was when working), and internally repointed with
a lime based mortar. The gantry stage will be reconstructed using steel rather than wood.
The internal structure of the superstructure is also in steel.
There is evidence around the building for a number of ancilliary buildings:
- a line shaft bearing and outline of the engine house survive
- there is a building outline on the southwest side
- there is a building outline on the northwest side
The mill remains have been owned for 16 years by the present owner (B Watson).
Several ideas have been suggested for preserving the listed building structure, including:
1) turning it back in to a working windmill
2) demolishing it and rebuilding on a greenfield site
3) simply capping the structure to make it watertight.
A working windmill would be very expensive, and would likely suffer from a lack of wind due to some local tall buildings.
Demolition was not considered permissible, since the listing covers both the structure, and the environment it is within.
There are accompanying texts from other publications, including from Bygone Kent Vol 20, No 10, and a number of historic