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
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
Other books covering specific areas contain photos of mills from that area.
Brighton and Hove contains a great picture of
Rottingdean windmill, with some classic 1950's cars.
East London shows the Hornchurch windmill in 1909, and the Upminster windmill in 1908.
Gloucestershire shows Arlington watermill at Bidbury, c1955.
Text and images © Mark Berry,