Mill news and topical information
- Archive page 12
Work progressing on Thaxted windmill
Following the situation last year where bricks were falling from the unsafe tower of Thaxted
windmill, a major renovation programme, costing around £120,000 is now well underway.
The work is essentially to reconstruct the top of the tower, by rebuilding the top few feet
of brickwork. This has required the sails to be removed, and the cap which weighs many tonnes
lifted off whole. In turn, this required construction of a temporary road, so that the crane
could reach the site.
The state of the work is currently that the contractors, Noble and Taylor, have rebuilt the
brickwork, and much of the curb, though the roller bearing on which the cap rotates is still
on the ground, as is the structure of the cap itself.
Cromer mill reorientated to face North-West
Cromer mill has been turned so that it faces North-West, as distinct from the Westerly
direction it has been left facing for much of the past 75 years since it ceased to be a
working mill. The main reason for this has been to swing the fantail so that it no longer
overhangs the roadway - a position that has allowed it to be struck by vehicles, and needing
to be twice rebuilt. A secondary advantage is that it moves the sails away from the
neighbouring hedge, and within the past month, the sails have been turning in the wind
probably for the first time since 1923.
Work is underway to construct a stone track around the mill for the fantail carriage, so that
turning the mill to wind can be done regularly in future.
Lincolnshire Mills Group 21st birthday
On Friday 7th May it is the 21st birthday party of the Lincolnshire Mills Group.
This is being held at Burgh le Marsh Windmill near Skegness from 2pm to 5pm.
There will be stalls selling mill souvenirs, refreshments, a cake cutting and
free entry to the mill.
The BBC property programme
Safe as Houses
broadcast on 13th April 2004 featured Sandy and Steve, who were looking for a new larger house
in the North Wales round to Lancashire area. Over the course of a year they were seen looking
at a variety of properties - including a converted windmill (described as dating from 1808, and
priced at £345,000), and a working watermill (described as dating from 1740, and priced at £285,000).
Neither location was identified.
The locations have now been identified for me as the windmill at Pilling in Lancashire,
and the watermill at Felin Isaf near Conwy.
Stracey Arms windpump has sail removed
Stracey Arms windpump in Norfolk has had a damaged sail removed. Thanks to Michael Roots,
I have some photos of the damage.
Norfolk Mills has long been an impressive site
about Norfolk watermills, with around 1400 images available.
Now the site has added windmills to the mix,
with an impressive entry count of 53 mills covered so far.
On a windy day in February 2004, Buckland windmill (a small saw mill in Surrey), was turned by wind for
the first time since restoration.
The mill's website is
promising video of this in the near future. The machinery is now in place for the windmill to drive, but
was not driven on the day.
A report on the windmill was presented at the SPAB windmill lecture on 20 March, and an illustrated
talk is booked for presentation to a number of local groups in the near future.
See also:Item #229
From Sheaf to Loaf in a Day - Wilton Windmill May 2003
OK, so I'm many months late getting to report on this, but in May 2003, Wilton windmill held
an event where they
threshed, milled, and then baked bread from local organic wheat. The BBC were at the event, and have
of the event available. 2000 people turned up to share the experience.
Winter sunshine at Cranbrook
Some images of Cranbrook mill
on a sunny day in February. Cranbrook is such a tall mill, with buildings around it, that it's tricky
to get the whole mill in one photo - and these photos don't try. Instead there are partial photos from
close up, and a very nice image of the top of the mill peaking over white weatherboarded houses.
Dad's Army came fourth in the BBC's
"Britain's Best Sitcom" poll. As part of the programme leading into the final, clips from
each show were shown, which in Dad's Army's case included clips from the rarely seen "Don't forget the diver"
which was filmed at
Drinkstone post mill in 1971.
Longley Farm packaging promoting wind turbines
Longley Farm in Yorkshire produce a range of dairy
products, which are sold in supermarkets. Their recent packaging carries images of wind turbines -
Natural Yogurt tubs show two turbines on a ridge,
whilst the virtually fat free cottage cheese range (seems to be too recent to show on the website)
shows a close up of a Vestas turbine. These would appear to be the
Royd Moor windfarm
(more details can be found at
Powergen [PDF], and some
distant photos). I'm glad to see this firm promoting
their local attractions on their products.
Mount Pleasant windmill business is booming
Mount Pleasant windmill produces organic flour, and bakes it into bread on site. With a tonne of flour,
and 500 loaves a week,
business is booming, thanks to internet orders, and the owners are employing two twentysomethings as
a miller and a baker to keep up with demand.
Since buying the mill for £375,000 in 1999, and spending a further £30,000 on renovations, Mervyn Austin, the
owner who himself has 30 years of experience in the baking industry, has been familiarising himself with the
equipment, and techniques needed to produce the 10 different flours the mill sells. These are turned into 15
different types of bread, currently baked in 2 batches a week, but expecting to be produced daily with the
new baker working full time.
[Kirton in Lindsey]
Shipley looking for more volunteer guides for new season
The new season of openings of Shipley mill starts on 4th April, and continues on the first, second
and third Sundays of each month through to October, plus Bank Holiday Mondays. The openings are
manned by the Friends of Shipley Mill, who could do with
some more volunteers, who as well as showing people around, can also get involved with maintenance
and repairs of the mill if they want.
Mills Open seventh edition
The SPAB Mills Section have brought out the seventh edition
of "Mills Open". This publication lists almost 450 mills across Britain, including windmills and
watermills, which are open to the public. There are about 35 new entries in this edition, and of course
updated entries for all existing mills, including web-site addresses and email contact details. The book
is available direct from the SPAB.
Cover image: Great Bircham windmill, Norfolk - The Mildred Cookson Collection.
See also:Item #276
Mills in British port cities
Port Cities is a new set of linked websites covering
various port cities around Britain.
Amongst its coverage, it includes an article on
Flour milling and the Port of London.
Lots of individual records show up if you search for either windmill or mill - you can do this at the
overall site which searches all port cities at once, but you
get better presentation of results (with thumbnails) if you search at the individual port's sites.
Particularly rewarding is the Liverpool site which
includes many images of windmills in the area.
Bumper mill coverage in the Sunday Times
Yesterday's Sunday Times had numerous mill related articles.
The property pages highlighted The Mill House, Ducklington, which is for sale as one of the houses of the week.
The ask the experts column answered the reader's question "I have bought an old mill in France that
I plan to convert. How can I find an architect?"
The private property sales section included ads for Stanton windmill, Suffolk; and also for a
French water mill
In a piece entitled "Vote for the windmill party", Jonathan Miller describes the nimbyism of English
expats objecting to the erection of wind turbines in their adopted Languedoc, France.
The money section had an article on mortgages for unusual properties, dominated by a picture and
story of how the owners of Staining windmill, Lancashire had no real problem financing their dream home,
The business section covered government plans for renewable energy, illustrated by a library picture
of cows grazing beneath a dozen wind turbines.
Although the mill has not specifically been affected, the quay around Woodbridge Tide Mill is preparing for its
official opening ceremony on April 16th after its lottery funded refurbishment.
As part of the work, new info boards describing the mill and the area
surrounding it have been provided.
SPAB release details of National Mills Weekend 2004
The SPAB Mills Section
have issued their press release concerning
National Mills Weekend. It details a number of
the close to 500 mills which will be open over the weekend 8th - 9th May 2004.
In addition it announces that the 7th edition of Mills Open is now available
from the SPAB office, giving details of locations and opening times of the many
mills in the UK which open throughout the year.