News: “Over the graves of the Druids and under the wreck of Rome,
Rudely but surely they bedded the plinth of the days to come.
Behind the feet of the Legions and before the Norseman’s ire
Rudely but greatly begat they the framing of State and Shire
Rudely but deeply they laboured, and their labour stand till now.
If we trace on ancient headlands the twist of their eight-ox plough.”

-Rudyard Kipling
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Author Topic: Feather Mill, Chatham  (Read 10382 times)

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Offline kms

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2018, 16:13:33 »
Smiffy, I suspect that this and Bacons were built by the same person, and not a conventional millwright by any means.  The success of one might have led to another.

What makes them different from conventional mills is that the body is to gain height, rather than house machinery, and the big square bases are where all the machinery is housed.  I imagine they had one big long shaft going down right through the body to spur wheels in the square base, as the bodies are too slender.

Offline smiffy

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2018, 16:39:28 »
This is a detail taken from a print showing the Feather mill, which I believe dates to the 1840's. Similar to another, better known view from the 1820's, it would appear that by this time it was down to just two sweeps. It shows just what a peculiar mill this was, bearing a distinct similarity to another oddity - Bacon's Mill in Ordnance street, which also has its own thread.


Offline kms

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2017, 00:18:15 »
I really haven't got the foggiest idea.  Feather Mill seems unique in the UK for a windmill being applied to this process (whatever the process might be!)

As for cabinet making, I guess using the mill as a saw mill might cover that, but its a strange concoction of Heath Robinson style processes going on in there which I doubt will ever be explained fully...

Offline smiffy

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2017, 23:58:10 »
I believe there is a way of pressing and/or drying feathers which reduces their weight and makes for easier transportation. Perhaps the Feather Mill had some connection with this process? I'm not sure why a cabinet maker would be involved in this industry though.

Offline kms

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2017, 21:09:01 »
Just in case anyone had any doubts that this was used for processing feathers (and don't ask me how that works!) I've found an advert for it, for 1830.  Feather 'production' seems to be one of a few tasks.

Offline kms

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2013, 16:54:58 »
There was enough to see above ground...  I think it was effectively someone's back garden, so didn't hang around too long to try and figure exactly what was or had been happening here.  There are loads of 'bits' of windmills around.  Someone has just told me that the levelled out brick piers of a post mill still exist at the site of Upper Norwood windmill at Crystal Palace, which is remarkable considering the area is so built up and the mill went in 1853.

There are parts of machinery in a garden of a mill at Hythe, demolished in 1825.....!

Offline smiffy

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2013, 15:35:53 »
Where's Time Team when you need them?  :)

Offline kms

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2013, 13:05:59 »
Smiffy, I suspect these are the walls that are still there, or at least were in the 80s/90s.  Whether they are the remains of the windmill is open to question, but they certainly looked late Victorian, with bits of iron around suggesting they are the remains of an industrial building.

Offline smiffy

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2013, 22:37:18 »
Looking again at the 1865 OS map I posted, there is an outline of some walls that may have been connected in some way. It looks like it would be about the right size to form part of the square base for a large windmill, and seems to be in the right place. It would be extraordinary if there is still something remaining after all this time.

Offline kms

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 20:57:25 »
Well it seems more than likely that it went in the 1860s, having had a good look at maps today.  Quite possibly burned down, as it's demise seems a bit quick.

If anyone is local to the site, it might be worthwhile having a look around the back of 46 High Street, as I did find what looked like the remains of an industrial building with the odd charred timber as well.  It looked like one retaining wall, possibly one wall of a four storey square base which would have been quite tall, and loads of unidentifiable junk, including bits of iron and shafting.  Ken Kirsopp took photos in the 1990s, and this one of them, from the Mills Archive.   

Offline smiffy

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 15:35:48 »

First published in 1933.

So if we assume that the "lady who, when a girl, some seventy years ago, daily went past this mill on the way to school" said this in about 1930, that would mean it was still standing in 1860 or thereabouts, giving us the earliest date for demolition.

Offline linyarin

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 10:45:06 »

Like you, I'm pretty convinced that this Windmill had gone by about 1860. Do we know when Finch's book was published?
First published in 1933.

Offline kms

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 01:41:19 »
I believe I've seen a photo of this mill some years ago without sweeps, c.1890, although I cannot guarantee it, nor find it. 

I did go to the site in the 80s behind some shops, and the footings of the base were clearly visible back then.

More research needed.....

Offline smiffy

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Re: Feather Mill, Chatham
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 13:21:45 »
Turner is sometimes known as "the first impressionist" and that is what is seen in his view of Chatham - it's not accurate, more of an impression of what you would see, like it was painted from memory and modified to give a more pleasing composition. One of the oddest things is the soldiers near Fort Pitt - they must be about twenty feet tall!

Like you, I'm pretty convinced that this Windmill had gone by about 1860. Do we know when Finch's book was published?

 

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