Windmills of Barbados


Glossary

Within Barbados, windmills are described using a number of local terms. Where appropriate, to keep this report consistent with other documents, I have used the local terms, as follows:
Barbados term           British Term

millwall                windmill tower
points                  sails
roundhouse              cap

Survey of millwalls - October 1999

The descriptions of indididual mills given on this page date largely from a survey of mills done in October 1999.

Note on locations The names given to the location of millwalls in this list are largely of my own making, and may not be accurate. Sugar mills, by their very nature, were associated with plantations, and unless the mill and plantation house have survived together as an identifiable unit, it's not always obvious which plantation the mill went with. Coupling this with the vagueness of exact location that the Barbados maps tend to provide may mean that I have misidentified mills. Locations I am especially unsure or suspicious of I have identified with ??

Alleynedale Hall, St Peter (#bb27)

tower mill :

Alleynedale Hall
Alleynedale Hall October 1999

This impressive millwall is roofed and well maintained. It has been painted pink, to match the nearby buildings, though on the exposed easterly side this has largely worn off. There is a bell in the top of the millwall. From the driveway leading up to this plantation there are a number of other millwalls visible, and I supect that if you climbed up inside the millwall itself, it would be possible to see a number more.

Entries in photo archives:

Apes Hill, St James (#bb16)

tower mill :

Apes Hill
Apes Hill October 1999

There are the remains of a pair of millwalls here.

Pumping mill - this is the more complete of the two, being a small millwall built of solid coral blocks. The pumping machinery remains, together with the main upright shaft, and some brief remnants of the roundhouse atop the millwall. The well this mill pumped from was apparently unique on the island, since instead of being a roughly circular well, the sides of the well are cut square.

Entries in photo archives:

Apes Hill, St James (#bb17)

tower mill :

Sugar mill - this structure, though still identifiable as a millwall, was converted long ago into a lime kiln. It was used as such until the 1960's, running on natural gas for about 6 months of the year. However the government then introduced a charging structure that would have meant paying for gas all year, even when the kiln was not in use, so the kiln switched experimentally (and unsuccesfully) to running on oil, then fell into disuse.

Entries in photo archives:

Balls, Christ Church (#bb7)

(13.07997,-59.525) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
tower mill :

Balls
Balls October 1999

This millwall is roofed and well maintained in the grounds of the Barbados Horticultural Society, where it features as a focal point of the planting. The roofed millwall is used as a store, and bears the date 1866.

[homepage]

Entries in photo archives:
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Callendar, Christ Church ?? (#bb6)

tower mill :

Callendar
Callendar October 1999

This millwall is now in a rear garden in a modern housing development and cannot be closely inspected. Nearby is the remaining tower of a metal windpump.

Entries in photo archives:

Collins, St Peter ?? (#bb26)

tower mill :

Collins
Collins October 1999

This millwall has an external ladder, suggesting that there is a tank contained in the top of the tower (either water or oil?)

Entries in photo archives:

Congo Road, St Philip (#bb11)

tower mill :

Congo Road
Congo Road October 1999

Another large and impressive millwall, showing signs of fairly recent repointing on the lower parts. However in general the structure is empty, and overgrown. In the yard of the adjacent stables lie a number of iron gears from a sugar mill, with attached concrete as if they have been built into a wall at some time. These carry the makers name "Fletcher and Co, London".

Entries in photo archives:

Cove Bay (#bb36)

(13.30234,-59.579) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
tower mill :

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Coverley, Christ Church (#bb2)

tower mill :

Coverley
Coverley October 1999

This unroofed millwall is in a reasonable state of repair, but does have a tree growing out of it.

Entries in photo archives:

Drax Hall, St George (#bb31)

tower mill :

Drax Hall
Drax Hall October 1999

The shell of this millwall is well maintained, and although unroofed the sheer bulk of the millwall provided excellent rain protection during a prolonged torrential downpour. (Given that the rain was driven sideways by the wind, the lack of a roof was not a problem!) Recent maintainance work has led to all the beam holes in the tower being filled in with cement - a slight shame since this looks out of place in the coral blocked walls, but presumably this stops animals and birds nesting within these convienient holes. What remains of the roundhouse has been lifted off the tower itself, and is now placed alongside the millwall.

[photo]

Entries in photo archives:

Ealing Park, Christ Church (#bb4)

tower mill :

Ealing Park
Ealing Park October 1999

This mill is now bordered by Millwall Avenue, part of the Ealing Park stage 3 development. The millwall itself is constructed of coral blocks, and is in the process of being incorporated into a house conversion. As is the case with much of the new building in Barbados, this conversion is taking its time, and there appears to have been little work for many months.

Entries in photo archives:

Garrison (#bb38)

(13.08236,-59.606) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
Bush Hill House: tower mill :

Within the grounds of the Barbados National Trust George Washington House property. Often referred to as a water mill, I think it probably pumped water to the adjacent bath house.

[homepage]

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Gibbons, Christ Church (#bb5)

tower mill :

Gibbons
Gibbons October 1999

This 8 sided structure was considered by Prof Dash to have been an animal rather than a wind-mill. However Rex Wailes did not fully agree with the Professor's findings, and from inspection I can see no reason why this was not considered to be a windmill - excepting the unusual non-round base, it has all the features of other definite windmills, including the tall narrow archway. In addition, its position on open ground near the top of the ridge would seem an ideal place to catch the winds. An unusual perspective on this structure can be gained from the right hand window seats of aircraft landing at Grantley Adams airport.

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Goodland, Christ Church (#bb30)

(13.05469,-59.524) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
tower mill :

Goodland
Goodland October 1999

Residential conversion, as a separate building in the grounds of a house. The conversion has been done with taste and presumably at much expense. The tower bears the date 1892. In the field of waste ground to the side of the house, there is a large wooden beam, which would appear to have come from the mill (at least I could see no other reason for dumping such a beam there!)

Entries in photo archives:
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Graeme Hall, Christ Church (#bb3)

tower mill :

Graeme Hall
Graeme Hall October 1999

In the grounds of a site owned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The tower, now roofed and turretted, bears the date 1929 on the masonry of the turrets above a bell. The tower is of regular coral blocks, and shows signs of conversion from 1 large arch to 2 smaller ones. There is also a further tall, thin arch. Above the main doorway is another date, which reads B.R. 1703 (though the last digit is indistinct).

Entries in photo archives:

Grove, St Philip (#bb10)

tower mill :

Grove
Grove October 1999

This millwall, of random size coral and mortar, is well maintained and used for storage. The wall bears the date March 25, 1757, and a note saying Built by Robert Taylor (though the first letter of the surname is not certain).

Entries in photo archives:

Indian Ground, St Andrew (#bb22)

tower mill :

Indian Ground
Indian Ground October 1999

This creeper covered millwall was not viewed except from afar.

Entries in photo archives:

Jezreel, St Philip ?? (#bb9)

tower mill :

Jezreel
Jezreel October 1999

This millwall looks very solidly constructed, of large coral blocks. There is evidence that the tower, which is roofless, has been heightened.

Entries in photo archives:

Lamberts (#bb1000)

(13.29790,-59.602) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
wind turbine:

Lamberts wind turbine
Lamberts wind turbine October 1999

Lamberts wind turbine
Lamberts wind turbine October 1999

At Lamberts, on the St Lucy/St Peter boundary, a wind turbine remains, in an essentially abandoned state. The tower is showing signs of rust, and the door to the tower has been forced open, and the insides trashed. The turbine blades remain, in a "parked" position. I surmise that the turbine was installed in 1985/86 (based on the manufacturing date of the equipment), but did not operate for many years since the 1987/88 telephone directory was apparently current when it stopped working!

Details of equipment

The installation includes the following equipment:

Additional details - added 27/3/2000

These additional details come from Wind Energy System in the Caribbean - a document which is undated, but would appear to have been scanned from a paper published in 1989.

Funding: InterAmerican Development Bank; Government of Barbados
Supplier: James Howden and Co Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland
Erected: April 1986; synchronized to electricity grid - 6th May 1986
Rated: 250kW in a windspeed of 13.5 m/s

Originally fitted with 26m blades, these were removed in Oct 1986, and replaced with 28m blades in Oct 1987 - recommissioning date 23rd October.

Problems encountered (many linked to inadequate local maintenance) included:

Between Nov 1987 and Jan 1989 there were 3 months when no ouput was produced due to the yaw break problem, but when working, month outputs of 20 - 60 mWh were produced.

Entries in photo archives:
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Lowland, Christ Church (#bb8)

tower mill :

Lowland
Lowland October 1999

Lowland
Lowland October 1999

This is a delightful and refreshingly complete mill, containing as it does all the working parts below the roundhouse (ie cap). It's a small mill, where the sugar mill (still present) is housed wthin the wall itself, rather than being outside in an ancilliary building. Above the sugar mill, the main shaft is still present, though far from upright. The structure is in the grounds of the Slumberest Mattress works, adjacent to where the staff eat their lunch. A swarm of bees currently treat the millwall as an oversized hive, which makes close access problematic!

Entries in photo archives:

Mangrove, St Peter (#bb18)

tower mill :

Mangrove
Mangrove October 1999

This rubble and mortar millwall currently has no roof, though 2 internal beams remain.

Entries in photo archives:

Mangrove, St Philip ?? (#bb12)

tower mill :

Mangrove
Mangrove October 1999

Now a residential conversion, with the uninspired house name of "The Mill".

Entries in photo archives:

Molyneux, St James (#bb13)

tower mill :

Molyneux
Molyneux October 1999

This creeper covered millwall, in the grounds of the luxury house "Molyneux House", appears to be well maintained.

Entries in photo archives:

Morgan Lewis Mill, St Andrew (#bb1)

(13.26841,-59.574) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
tower mill :

Morgan Lewis
Morgan Lewis October 1999

gears
gears October 1999

Morgan Lewis mill, commonly given the date c1727, continued to work through until 1945. In 1962 E L Banister donated it to the Barbados National Trust, who commenced a restoration project 2 years later. It was further restored in 1974, but deteriorated again, so much so that it was listed as one of the most endangered heritage sites in the world. However a 2 year restoration by the UK millwrights The Chiltern Partnership, started in 1996, then brought the mill back to its former glory.

[homepage] [info] [info] [info]

Entries in photo archives:
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Picasa Web Album images are copyright their individual photographers.

Mount, St George (#bb32)

tower mill :

Creeper covered, not viewed except from afar.

Entries in photo archives:

Mullins, St Peter (#bb14)

(13.23482,-59.637) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
tower mill :

Mullins Mill forms the core of a luxury holiday villa, available for rent to those with sufficient money. The millwall is barely visible from outside the grounds. At the end of the drive, the roller from a sugar crushing mill has been painted and placed as the property's nameplate.

[info] [info]

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near Alleynedale, St Peter ?? (#bb28)

tower mill :

Alleynedale
Alleynedale October 1999

The map shows Alleynedale as covering quite an area - it was obviously a large and powerful plantation. As well as the Alleynedale Hall millwall, not far away I found a pair of millwalls almost concealed by the undergrowth.

Pumping mill - tree growing out of millwall

Entries in photo archives:

near Alleynedale, St Peter ?? (#bb29)

tower mill :

Alleynedale
Alleynedale October 1999

Sugar mill - appears to be roofed and door locked, so was probably a store, though now appears abandoned to the encroaching undergrowth

Entries in photo archives:

Orange Hill, St Peter (#bb21)

tower mill :

Orange Hill
Orange Hill October 1999

At ground level, this mill wall is constructed of large blocks, though higher up the wall is of more rubble like blocks, with mortar. The wall retains some brief roundhouse remains, and has an internal tin roof about half way up the tower - given the use of the surrounding buildings its possible that this roof was to allow the mill to be used as a chicken shed in the past. The undergrowth is increasingly encroaching on the mill now.

Entries in photo archives:

Pollards, St Philip (#bb39)

tower mill :

[homepage]

Entries in photo archives:
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Portland, St Peter (#bb24)

tower mill :

Another example of twin millwalls

Pumping mill - truncated tower only remains

Entries in photo archives:

Portland, St Peter (#bb25)

tower mill :


Sugar mill - carries the name Betsy Belle, and the date 1952. The millwall is roofed and is currently the location for a large aerial.

Entries in photo archives:

Prospect, St Peter (#bb23)

tower mill :

Prospect
Prospect October 1999

This millwall carries 2 sets of dates - G H M 1743 (the letters are arranged in a triangle, with H at the top), and P C J 1999 (a similar triangle, with the C at the top). The recent building work, close to completion, has obviously cleared trees away from the millwall, installed new stairs, rendered and painted the outer walls, and added a balcony to the top of the tower (together with any structural work that may have been done, but cannot be deduced without knowing what state the tower was originally in!). Attached to the millwall are the foundations of another building - presumably the external location of the cane crushing mill itself. A few feet away stands an extensive ruined plantation sugar factory, including a steam engine.

Entries in photo archives:

Rock Hall, St Peter (#bb19)

tower mill :

Rock Hall pump
Rock Hall pump October 1999

Another example of a pair of millwalls

Pumping mill - this millwall currently has a tree growing up its inside. Part of the roundhouse remains, and the pump is present and apparently complete, though the wooden well cover looks decidedly rotten. Given the story related by Rex Wailes of someone who fell down this particular well, I did not test the strength any further

Entries in photo archives:

Rock Hall, St Peter (#bb20)

tower mill :

Rock Hall
Rock Hall October 1999

Sugar mill - converted to a house many years ago (pre 1970). The conversion was performed with little architectural merit - the bare breeze blocks which block in the millwall archways to this day are still unrendered, and not even painted. The main shaft is behind the house, though increasingly overgrown by garden plants.

Entries in photo archives:

Sandford, St Philip (#bb34)

tower mill :

Sandford
Sandford October 1999

This millwall is now part of an extensive "Spanish Style" house conversion. It is the eyecatching anchor building on Millwall Drive for a residential development, with other roads also taking their names from the millwall.

Entries in photo archives:

South side of Grantley Adams airport, Christ Church (#bb33)

tower mill :

Grantley Adams
Grantley Adams October 1999

This small millwall, assumed to be a pumping mill, is located inside the airport perimeter fence, and is hence inaccesible to the public. It's close to buildings that could house a flying school, and the millwall itself carries what looks to be a carved stone memorial, containing 3 or 4 long paragraphs of text. Alongside is the remains of a metal windpump.

Update: Jan 2005 - I have been informed that this millwall was destroyed in March 2004, when building work was taking place on the new hanger to house the aircraft of the Regional Security System.

Entries in photo archives:

Speightstown, St Peter (#bb40)

(13.25800,-59.643) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
Almond Beach Village: tower mill :

[homepage]

Entries in photo archives:

St Nicholas Abbey (#bb35)

(13.27793,-59.589) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
tower mill :

primary Millwall at St Nicholas Abbey
primary Millwall at St Nicholas Abbey July 2012 © David Lopez

The main sugar crushing mill

[homepage]

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St Nicholas Abbey (#bb37)

(13.27750,-59.590) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
tower mill :

A small secondary millwall

[homepage]

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Water Hall, St James (#bb15)

tower mill :

Water Hall
Water Hall October 1999

This solid tower has been extensively modified (perhaps more than once), now retaining just a single opening to the tower. It is currently used as a store. The main shaft can be found hidden in the undergrowth at the side of the road alongside.

Entries in photo archives:

Mock Mills

Morgan Lewis (#bbmodel1)

model:

seemingly partly made from auto parts

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Sam Lords Castle (#bbmock1)

(13.12581,-59.431) Google Maps Aerial - Dual Google & Bing Maps
skelton:

After experincing financial troubles in the mid 2000's, the mansion house at Sam Lords Castle burnt down in somewhat mysterious circumstances on 20 Oct 2010. Previous to that in April 2006 all of the former hotel's fixtures had been sold off. The former mock mill was looking pretty sorry for itself in the photo from 2009 on flickr.

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Wind Energy in recent times

Extract from the Barbados Physical Development Plan, amended 1986, published 1988

"In 1979 the utilized energy resources consisted of petroleum, bagasse, natural gas, wood/charcoal and solar. When all the utilized resources are measured in terms of tons of oil equivalent (TOE), it becomes evident that petroleum and bagasse accounted for 81.7% and 16.6% respectively, while the share of natural gas, wood/charcoal, and solar of the total supply was only 1%, 0.6%, and 0.1% respectively. Of the supply resources, 72.8% were imported and consisted of petroleum products and crude, the remaining 27.2% being domestic resources.

The current enery policy encourages the further development and more effective utilized of existing renewable resources, mainly bagasse and solar, as well as the development of renewable resources such as wind and wave energy.

Electricity generation through wind machines will soon be in experimental stage, and the feasibility of electricity generation based on wave-energy is to be analyzed."


Windmills as a symbol of Barbados

Windmills appear on two items of Barbados currency.
  1. The Barbados $2 banknote - the rear of the note shows a windmill with the distinctive Caribbean shaped roundhouse on top holding bare sail stocks in the cross of St Andrew position. The image is turned into a distinctive logo by the addition of a circle which passes through the tips of the sail stocks. The front of the note then has simply the silhouette of the mill and circle logo, though if you hold the note up to the light, its use becomes clear - it is a security device to allow detection of misregistration of the printing on the front and rear of the note
  2. The Barbados 25 cent coin - this features a picture of Morgan Lewis Mill - in fact it is probably true to say that it is "the classic picture of Morgan Lewis Mill" - that is to say that it is the view from the rear of the mill, with the ramp up to the sugar mill in the foreground of the image.
Morgan Lewis mill also appeared on a postage stamp issued in 1970.

Maps

Kauai Fine Arts have a number of small representaions of antique maps of Barbados online.

Bibliography


Links



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