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Author Topic: Chillenden Windmill  (Read 6665 times)

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Offline Islesy

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Re: Chillenden Windmill
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 14:56:17 »
Chillenden's Milling Landmark

Replacing a previous 17th century post mill, Chillenden Mill was the last post mill to be built in Kent and is the only remaining open trestle post mill left in the county, and one of only five left in the United Kingdom

The original post mills were quite small buildings, their design leading to problems with stability making them liable to blow down in strong winds. By burying the bottom of the trestle in a mound of earth the stability was improved and the problem solved.

As the size of mills increased, it was found that the trestle did not need to be buried and the open trestle post mill design evolved. The oldest surviving example is at Great Gransden in Cambridgeshire, with the other four surviving examples being at Bourn and Great Chishill in Cambridgeshire, Nutley in East Sussex and our own example at Chillenden.

An open trestle post mill has the mill’s body (or ‘buck’) supported on a central post, which is in turn supported by a trestle. The buck has two floors, with the upper floor containing the grinding stones, turned by wind power. To make the sails face squarely into the wind, the whole body of the mill, with all the machinery inside, has to be rotated around the central post by hand using the tail pole. To stop
the sails, the mill must be turned again so that they are ‘on edge’ to the wind.

Chillenden Mill was built in 1869 by the Holman Brothers of Canterbury, the most renowned millwrights and agricultural engineers in the area at the time. Born in 1783, John Holman was the son of a miller and learnt his trade as a millwright with Sweetloves of Wingham. In 1816 he set up his own millwrighting business in Canterbury and by 1822 had become a Freeman of the City of Canterbury. His two sons had joined the business by 1857 but in 1865 John Holman died, leaving his son Thomas to carry on. Very few records of the firm’s history exist prior to 1865, but windmills, millwrighting, wheelwrighting, cart and wagon building seem to have been their main workload. Thomas was joined by his sons, Harry and Wilfred, and when he died they took over the business, Harry in particular became very well known, becoming an Heriditary Freeman of the City of Canterbury and a founder member of the Kent Agricultural Engineers Association.

The mill was first worked by Haywood & Cage, who were described in census returns as “millers and farmers”, and were followed by William Hopper Bean (1882-1899), Mr. A. Laker (1930-1941), and then his nephew Mr N.W Laker (1941-1949). Unfortunately there is a gap in the miller records between 1899 and 1930, but Holman Brothers certainly maintained the mill throughout the 1920s, as in 1927 they fitted a new stock and two new sails.

Chillenden was a working mill until 1949, grinding grist (grain that has been separated from its chaff in preparation for grinding), when it was damaged during a storm. The force of the wind pushed the mill over, and one of the sails hit the ground, taking the weight of most of the structure. Norman Laker managed to continue grinding though, utilising a pair of stones driven by a 8hp Blackstone oil engine in the Granary Hut. With the mill out of use, the fabric of the building began to deteriorate and in 1951 Kent County Council placed a Building Preservation Order on the mill, leading to local residents raising funds to weatherproof the structure in 1955.

During this period of the 1950s, the County Council were taking the issue of mill preservation and restoration increasingly seriously, and by 1955 had drawn up proposals to buy the mill from Brigadier Speed of Knowlton Court for the sum of £100.00. The sale was concluded early in 1958, and vital repairs were carried out by E.C Miles & Sons to the sum of £677.00 (£11,793.34 today), with the Granary being demolished at the cost of £31.3.0d (£542.63).

Over the next 45 years the County Council maintained the mill, repairing and restoring as the situation required and listing the structure as a Grade II listed building in October 1963. Disaster struck the mill though when, during the morning of November 26, 2003, it was blown over and destroyed by a storm, barely weeks after a major restoration project was completed.

Following four months of uncertainty the County Council confirmed its intention to restore the mill to its original site and condition, being rebuilt by Oxfordshire millwrights, Owlsworth IJP. On September 18, 2005, nearly two years after it was destroyed, the mill was reopened to the public.






(Top) The mill today, now strengthened against possible wind damage. (Middle left to right) The mill in 1927, showing the Granary demolished in 1958. Taken in 1961 the last miller, Norman Laker, poses outside the mill. (Bottom) Reduced to little more than matchwood after the storm of November 26, 2003, two years later the mill was fully restored.

Picture credits: (Top) © Paul Isles, (Middle left to right) © Rex Wailes Collection, © A.W May/Jenny West Collection, (Bottom) © Paul Isles
All text © Dover Life Magazine


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Offline Islesy

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Re: Chillenden Windmill
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2010, 15:18:17 »
Restoration of Chillenden Windmill

In 1951 the question of restoring Chillenden Windmill arose, and with it the political wrangling over finance.


2 years later, and the wrangling still continued.


By March 1955, KCC were narrowing their options down as to which mill to buy.


and by 1956 surveys were completed...


...and quotations for repair submitted.



18 months after agreeing in principle to purchase the mill, the final recommendations were submitted to the planning committee.


The conveyance for sale was drawn up on 12.12.1957




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Offline Riding With The Angels

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Re: Chillenden Windmill
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2009, 01:02:58 »
Chillenden yesterday.










Offline unfairytale

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Re: Chillenden Windmill
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 00:08:31 »
I was told by the son of the man who restored Sarre windmill that Chillenden windmill collapsed because Dover council took loads of the machinery out of it which , in effect, was holding the thing together. They were warned by the man himself not to do it because it would significantly weaken the structure.
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Offline unfairytale

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Chillenden Windmill
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2009, 19:08:41 »

Chillenden. Taken by my good self in 1996.
When you've got your back to wall, there's only one thing to do and that's to turn around and fight. (John Major)
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