Mills from the Francis Frith Collection

Francis Frith, a pioneering Victorian photographer, founded the archive that bears his name in 1860. The archive, which remains in private hands, now contains over 365,000 photos taken between 1860 and 1970, and covers almost 7000 British towns and villages.

The importance of the Frith archive is as a topographical and social record. It provides an amazingly detailed visual record of over 7,000 towns and villages, as well as illustrating the enormous social and structural changes which have taken place in Britain since 1860. Whilst some of the photographs are undoubtedly artistically outstanding, the real value of the archive lies in its scale. There is no other archive which can illustrate this period of British history so extensively or to such a high quality.


Since photos form the backbone of the collection, there are many images of mills available from the collection.

I suggest you have a look at the shorter selection pages first:

Warning: the full catalog pages below hold a large number of images, which will take some time to download:


A selection of 150 windmill and watermill photos from the collection, selected and described by Tony Bryan, are available in the Frith book Windmills and Watermills. All Frith books include a voucher for a free Frith print of any image in the book.

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Other books covering specific areas contain photos of mills from that area. For example

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Last updated 03/03/2017 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -