Windmill restorations, 1960s to 1990s
Frank Gregory’s unrivalled collection of windmill photographs recorded the successes and failures of the windmill restoration movement in the UK.
With his camera, Frank travelled the length and breadth of the country, visiting as many of the existing windmills as he could find. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, massive changes to the condition of windmills in England occurred as a countrywide restoration movement got under way. Frank often re-visited mills that were under repair to check on progress. Sadly, not all of the windmills that stood derelict in 1960 found sympathetic new owners, and by 1990 many fine examples had been demolished, been converted to living accommodation or remained in a derelict state.
Bourn Mill, Cambridgeshire
This ancient post mill, with its open trestle, is difficult to recognise under its cloak of scaffolding. The photograph probably dates from the early 1980s.
Restoration of the tower mill at Thelnetham, Suffolk, nears completion in this photograph, probably taken in 1984. The sails were lifted into place in 1985.
Thrigby Mill, Norfolk
The post mill at Thrigby, Norfolk, under reconstruction in the 1980s. The trestle has been renewed and placed inside the original roundhouse. A new buck is under construction alongside. Today, the mill is complete with four sails.
James Waterfield and his dog, Treacle, take a break from restoration work on the tower mill at Bardwell, Suffolk, in 1983.
Madingley Mill, Cambridge
A fascinating post mill with 15th century origins, Madingley mill was rebuilt on this site in 1935 as a non-working landmark, an action that ensured its preservation. Standing derelict in the 1980s when this photograph was taken, the mill has since been extensively repaired and looks very smart.
Nutley Mill, Sussex
Although major restoration work at Nutley post mill had been completed in the 1970s, the responsibility for repairing a windmill never ceases. Here, one of the stocks supporting a pair of sweeps is replaced.
Lacey Green Mill, Bucks
Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. This shabby smock mill at Lacey Green, Bucks, is the oldest of its type to survive in the country and an exemplary restoration is now complete.
Fete at Hi Salvington Mill, Worthing, Sussex
Mill Fetes and other events were held to raise funds for the restoration of High Salvington windmill, near Worthing, Sussex, during the 1980s.
Freckenham Mill, Suffolk
A small rural smock mill with a tailpole, two spring and two common sails, at Freckenham, west Suffolk, c1960. This had originally been a fen drainage mill before its conversion to a corn mill. Its state of repair was too poor to attract the restorers and the mill was demolished in 1967.
Union Mill, Cranbrook under repair
Cranbrook’s famous Union Mill, the tallest in England at 76ft above ground level, was repaired in 1960 by Bremer Brothers, millwrights from Holland. The Dutch millwrights installed steel stocks in place of the original design of wooden sweeps.