News:
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Star Hill, Rochester  (Read 4909 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline smiffy

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Appreciation 60
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2017, 20:38:57 »
I'm wondering if the second cutting from 1825 refers to the Zenith Mill and the other to the unnamed third mill that is marked on earlier maps. Interestingly, the 1822 map shows only Horsnail's Mill, although the cutting implies at this time there was another nearby still standing.

Offline kms

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Appreciation 13
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2017, 19:41:38 »
And the other...

 Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal - Friday 02 December 1825:



Offline kms

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Appreciation 13
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2017, 19:39:25 »


Smiffy

I think we need to start again re-evaluating the histories of many of the mills in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham (to a lesser extent).  I have a week off, the week after next and will dig in to see if I can disentangle some of the historical mess.  Incidentally, this is a regular thing in fast growing towns where mills come and go with depressing regularity.  Factors such as development, recession, wind pollution, insurance 'jobs', and things happening too quickly for cartographers (sometimes development was so dense that mapmakers couldn't find room for the word 'windmill(corn)' etc).  I think it's probably best to put down Coles-Finch for a bit and start again.  Another problem is that various millers, millwrights,  and families kept jumping mills leading to different mills being renamed.  E.g. two Belsey's Mills, one renamed from Boys, and the other at Chatham.

There are various things we can assume as correct:

i) Delce Mill was burned down in 1872, and completely rebuilt, being the last of the Medway working windmills and being demolished c.1951.

ii) Boys Mill, and Friday's Mill, Star Hill were the largest smocks in the region, Boy's being the tallest, and Friday's being the most extravagant.

iv)The mills at St Margarets are completely confusing, but we do know that Horsnails Mill was a fine post mill which was of some age, and worked until quite late.  (I have a lovely photo of it, which I'd rather not share)

v)Stedmans were the dominant millwrights here, and need to be looked at more closely.  They have ledgers lodged locally in a Kent archive, I think at Rochester.  John Stedman was the most famous being born c.1814 and living into the 20th century, but he had millwrights in the family prior to him, notably Nathaniel who CF says built Fridays Mill.  I would imagine that most of the mills locally were maintained or rebuilt etc by John.

I fully agree that the alleged old mill at Star Hill, is lacking in any provenance at all (so far)


Here's a couple of newspaper ads, which are fifty years apart, and seem remarkably similar both referring to almost identical fires at St Margarets.

Kentish Gazette - Wednesday 17 August 1774:


Offline kms

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Appreciation 13
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2017, 16:38:23 »
Here's an extract from another map dated 1822. North here is toward the right.

Although not very clear you can see near the centre a mill marked, presumably Boy's Mill, which pushes its known date of construction back a bit more. Also visible up and to the left of Boy's is what appears to be Friday's Mill, only here it is marked as Stedman's Mill. No sign at all of the Old Mill referred to by Coles Finch - I'm beginning to wonder whether it ever actually existed.

Although I've not gone into any depth on the Medway towns yet, I haven't found anything to confirm the Old Mill, which is strange as he claims it was there until 1865.  I've said before that Coles-Finch is riddled with errors, and quite worrying in this case as he lived in this part of Kent.  In the book on Windmills of NW Kent which I've already published, about 20% of the mills are not mentioned by Coles Finch, including some very important ones.  Of the ones he did mention the histories have been radically re-written.

Offline smiffy

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Appreciation 60
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2017, 16:11:42 »
Here's an extract from another map dated 1822. North here is toward the right.

Although not very clear you can see near the centre a mill marked, presumably Boy's Mill, which pushes its known date of construction back a bit more. Also visible up and to the left of Boy's is what appears to be Friday's Mill, only here it is marked as Stedman's Mill. No sign at all of the Old Mill referred to by Coles Finch - I'm beginning to wonder whether it ever actually existed.

Offline smiffy

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Appreciation 60
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2017, 21:38:09 »
Zooming into the 1819 Mudge map you can just about see a windmill marked near the top of Star Hill. Looking at its position I would say that this is Friday's Mill. No others are shown, not even The Old mill which is supposed to have still been present at this time.

Offline smiffy

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Appreciation 60
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2017, 23:36:42 »
A view of Boy's Mill from Rochester High Street in 1879. The view from the same place today looks remarkably similar, with a lot of the same buildings still standing. Minus the mill of course.

Offline kms

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Appreciation 13
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2017, 18:58:53 »
No reference to the windmill, only the steam mill, so it looks like it had already gone by this time. This would tie in with the generally accepted date of c.1890 for its demise.

It's more than possible, that assuming this was on the site of the windmill, that it is reused gearing/millstones and flour machines from the mill.  Millstones were very expensive to buy, and gearing to cast, and by this time roller mills were the preferred and more efficient way of grinding.

What is particularly pleasing to me is that in the inventory is listed 'Ashby's Patent Smutter' which is part of an extraordinary story revealed in a big chunk of my book.  William Ashby was an extraordinary chap, a Quaker, born by a watermill in Frant in Sussex in 1779.  He moved to Westerham in Kent in about 1804, and built windmills at Keston, Knockholt, Erith, Ide Hill and a giant one in Croydon.  He is thought to have built the surviving windmills at Brixton (for his half-brother John) and Shirley as well.  In 1840, he was jailed for 2 years for bankruptcy, which he somehow survived.  He was forced to live in a Croydon slum with his wife and eleven kids, and turned his hand to inventing.  He invented the vertical smutter, which he exhibited at one of the Crystal Palace Great Exhibitions, and it was quickly snapped up by a major manufacturer and became widespread across the UK.  He died a rich man living in Addington, Surrey in 1866, having survived his wife and three of his children.  It's an amazing tale of surviving tragedy and not giving up.

Offline smiffy

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Appreciation 60
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2017, 17:49:09 »
No reference to the windmill, only the steam mill, so it looks like it had already gone by this time. This would tie in with the generally accepted date of c.1890 for its demise.

Offline Nemo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
  • Appreciation 15
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2017, 15:04:01 »
From The Chatham News, June 1891:

Offline kms

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Appreciation 13
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2017, 19:24:01 »
This was done by a friend of mine sorry about the Tango effect!

Offline kms

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Appreciation 13
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2017, 19:12:57 »
Boys Mill is almost certainly a product of the heyday period of the Kentish smock mill, say between 1790 and 1815.

Offline smiffy

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Appreciation 60
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2017, 16:41:03 »
That's a great find Nemo - it looks as though Boy's mill is much older than expected. This would mean that if all dates are correct, there were three windmills operating at the same time near the top of Star Hill, all probably within a hundred yards of each other!

Offline Nemo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
  • Appreciation 15
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2017, 15:50:30 »
This newspaper stuff's addictive!  OK, bargain from the Kentish Gazette - and others, of 20 May 1834 (23 years before the accident that Boys attended):

A very substantially built first-rate CORN WIND-MILL, TO LET, with a convenient new brick-built Dwelling House, a Millerís cottage of three rooms, stable, cart and wagon lodges, and loft over, situated at the top of Star Lane, New Road, ROCHESTER.  The Mill is extremely roomy, having six lofty floors and three pair of 4ft 6in French stones, with every description of necessary gear complete, in the best possible state of repair, [with] excellent smut machine, meal, flour, wheat, and other corn bins.  The premises are all securely fenced in, and offer an unusual opportunity to any person of moderate capital in the trade, either manufacturing for the home or London market.  The freight to and from London is extremely moderate, not more than if situate within a few miles with free use of a commodious wharf, very near the Mill, for unshipping flour, meal and corn.  It is but seldom that such an opportunity in the meal, flour, and corn trade offers, possessing the advantages which the situation of this Mill and premises do.  A single horse is capable easily of carting out all the goods that can be manufactured.  To view the Mill and premises, and for other particulars, apply to Mr Boys, adjoining the same.

Offline smiffy

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Appreciation 60
Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2017, 14:15:33 »
Some very interesting info there Nemo.

This helps with the location of one mill and we now know that the other one had already changed hands (from Boy's to Belsey's) and so must date back to well before 1857.

 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines