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Author Topic: Star Hill, Rochester  (Read 4927 times)

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Offline Nemo

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2017, 11:43:42 »
As regards the windmill adjoining St Catherine’s Hospital, the image below is from the Maidstone Gazette/Kentish Courier for 18 August 1846.  It concerns the lease for 14 years by the hospital trustees, of a large corn windmill, together with a forge, stable, 4 cottages and 2 messuages (dwelling houses with outbuildings and land).  It is compatible with the notion that Mr Stedman occupied it until 1846, when Mr Friday took it over and changed the sail thingies – cf. KeithJG’s post no.10.

Turning now to the ‘Belsey’ mills, the following is a transcription of a report in The South Eastern Gazette of 28 July 1857:

'Dreadful Accident by the sweeps of a windmill – A deplorable accident occurred on Thursday evening, to a workman, named Richard Brooks, employed by Mr Jennings, who was struck by one of the sweeps of Mr Belsey’s Mill, Star-hill.  Mr Jennings has been for some time past engaged in erecting a large steam mill for Mr Belsey, adjoining the windmill; indeed, the building is so close that to prevent accidents it was found necessary to stop the windmill during certain portions of the work.  On Thursday the men were employed working on the roof, and on leaving, in the evening, the mill, which had been stopped all day, was put in motion.  Brooks, it seems, had occasion to go on to the roof to procure something left behind, when he incautiously went to that part of the building close to the sweeps, which were then in rapid motion.  Without being aware of the proximity of his danger he advanced, and was instantaneously caught by one of the sweeps, which struck him violently on the back part of the head, and knocked him off the room on to the scaffold, the fall inflicting a terrible gash on his forehead.  Another man who went up with him, seeing the danger Brooks was in, advanced to seize him, and was himself nearly caught by the sweeps, the wind from which nearly knocked him off the roof.  The unfortunate man Brooks was conveyed to his home in Delce-lane, where he was promptly attended by Dr JR Taylor, CB, principal medical officer at Fort Pitt, and by Mr Hutchins, surgeon.  Major Boys, who resides close to the scene of the accident, and also Mr FF Belsey and Mr Jennings, behaved in a most kind manner to the poor fellow.  Everything that human skill could suggest was done for him, but owing to the frightful character of the injuries received, scarcely any hopes are entertained of his recovery.  On Sunday evening he was stated to be better.  The unfortunate man, although scarcely 20 years of age, has passed a most eventful life.  On one occasion, whilst employed on Mr Matson’s farm, one of his legs was nearly torn off by a threshing machine, and he has twice fallen off a scaffold, besides some minor accidents which have happened to him.'

The SE Gazette of 28 December 1858 covers the case of alleged theft by William Brown and Pierre Chanvelon (captain) of two quarters of imported corn, said to be the property of ‘Mr Issac Belsey, Star-hill mills’.  Mr Francis Flint Belsey, giving evidence, said that he had an impression that his father complained of the deficiency in the cargo, but was not positive.

The OS map of 1866-7 annotates the ‘Boys/Belsey’ site as ‘Starhill Mills (corn)'.

Offline kms

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2017, 22:32:21 »
I have one photo of it working, and its the oddest looking mill probably in the county, and unlikely to have been built by a millwright.  Please upload!

The one I have is on the web here, but I have a much better version of it:

https://catalogue.millsarchive.org/sails-only-looking-over-roof-tops-bacons-mill-ordnance-place-chatham

Offline smiffy

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2017, 22:25:52 »
Thank's for the confirmation, it explains a lot regarding some of the confusion around this subject.

Regarding Bacon's mill, I have recently come across a photograph that is described as Bacon's mill, although I have some reservations.
 
Perhaps if I upload it to the Ordnance St, Chatham thread in this section you could take a look and venture an opinion?

Offline kms

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2017, 22:03:09 »

Just to confirm, there were a number of mills on Star Hill, so not necessarily successive buildings.  I also have reference to a Shipwrights Mill in 1753, which might well be the same as destroyed in 1852/3.  I have an engraving of this mill and it was huge, with a double fantail, and a gold leafed figure of Mercury on top.  It appears to have been a huge display of wealth.

I also have a photo of the post mill at St Margarets, which is surprisingly technologically advanced (Coles Finch makes it out to have been quaint and ancient).

As for water-pumping, Bacon's Mill at Ordnance Place, Chatham did the same dual tasks.  Gearing is very easy to adapt to provide horizontal and vertical power at the same time through line-shafting.

Offline kms

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2017, 21:56:37 »
I think you are all being massively over-reliant in William Coles Finch being accurate. 

I'm doing a five volume series on Kentish windmills and the first one was published two years ago.  It covers NW Kent, and and out of the 46 mills included 12 were missed by Coles-Finch, and out of the rest the information was often wildly inaccurate.

Hardback only (well a card cover), I'm afraid.  I've seen the process by which Coles-Finch did his survey, from some of the notes he left.  He wrote to every clergyman of each parish, who in turn went out to see the oldest people in the village etc, etc, and some of the stories that came back were a bit wild, hence the inaccuracy in interviewing people with fading memories.  Effectively a lot of it was done by correspondence.

The book itself was researched by a chap called Alfred Tiffin of Staplehurst, who was still alive in Australia in the 1980s, but apparently shy to take the credit.  Coles-Finch had already had many books published, and could write a better story, but many think Mr Tiffin was the engine behind the book.

Offline smiffy

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2017, 21:23:03 »
I mentioned in this very thread that Coles Finch's information can sometimes be suspect. A lot of it seems to be based on personal recollections and anecdotes related to him by others. The positions given of where many mills stood can also be pretty vague, to say the least. However, until your books are completed his work would appear to be the only known guide we have to go by.

Is your first volume available as an e-book or is it hardback only?




Offline kms

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2017, 20:47:09 »
I think you are all being massively over-reliant in William Coles Finch being accurate. 

I'm doing a five volume series on Kentish windmills and the first one was published two years ago.  It covers NW Kent, and and out of the 46 mills included 12 were missed by Coles-Finch, and out of the rest the information was often wildly inaccurate.

KeithJG

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2017, 19:18:24 »
That is interesting smiffy.

At least we know water was available for pumping because of the pumping station behind the hospital for the brewery?

Offline smiffy

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2017, 19:05:10 »
There is a thread covering the Feather mill here:

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=16390.0

This one is also a bit of a mystery.

KeithJG

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2017, 18:46:30 »
This is getting more interesting seeing as now water pumping has been mentioned.

Although in Chatham in 1820-1890 there was another Mill called Feather Mill which was stated as 220yds West of St. Bartholomews Church. Although some say it was in line from the shore with Chest Arms Hotel which was the Empire Theatre.

It was perched high up on the New Road.

A local woman when a girl use to walk past this mill on her way to school and she referred to it as Feather Mill.

It was learned that this Mill was used for preparing feathers for domestic use - beds, pillow cases etc.

So was this Mill used for supplying the fillings to St. Barthlomews Hospital and also pumped their water?

It was finally noted that this Mill was behind number 46 High Street Chatham perched high up on the bank in New Road.

Demolished 1890.

A picture of this Mill from History of Kent appears to be from Fort Pitt?

Further to the location after the renumbering of buildings number 46 may of been the now 346 which was the Parlour, and behind it high up past the old Chapel is a very high yellow yellow bricked  building which was Kent Art Printers with it's entrance on New Road which is now Rochester but also fit's in better with 220yds WEST of the St. Barthlomews Church in Gundulph Road?

Offline mikeb

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 17:26:04 »
 I am puzzled as to how a mill built for corn / flour milling can also be used for water pumping. For milling a rotating, vertical shaft drives the stone(s) but in the mid 1800's a vertical reciprocating movement would required to lift water from a well. Surely the mill would have been fitted out for one or the other task, but could it really serve both requirements?
Or, have I missed something?



Offline smiffy

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2017, 17:21:40 »
The dotted line on the 1866 map is half a furlong radius and centred on Boy's mill. The red dotted line here is centred on St. Peter's Church and is one furlong radius and trending south east. The Old mill and Friday's mill were both stated by Coles Finch as being in this position, so must have existed in close proximity to each other during the time that Friday's mill was standing. Coles Finch himself stated that the newer mill "stood near" the Old mill.

The reference to the mill house may be either of the buildings I have highlighted in pink. I'm not sure when the houses in between were built, but they may post-date the fire as there is mention of other adjacent houses being burnt down.

I can't understand how Friday's mill could still be shown standing on a map of 1882 when it's not present on an earlier OS map. It is also clearly stated in Nemo's post that the fire of 1853 resulted in its total destruction.

Offline filmer01

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2017, 15:45:53 »
In nemo's newspaper extract it said that the mill was pumping water for the adjacent hospital. How adjacent was it? Could the site have been redeveloped by the time of the map survey?
Illegitimus nil carborundum

KeithJG

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 15:05:20 »
Half a furlong is only 110yds.

This 1863/5 map shows the Boys Mill or Old Mill so 110yds is within the same land at the top of Star Hill North of the New Road.

I have put up the pages concerned so we can all read and decipher what is what?


Offline Nemo

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Re: Star Hill, Rochester
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 14:34:49 »
The attached is from the South Eastern Gazette of February 22nd 1853 (will transcribe if image isn't clear enough!):

 

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