Stevens' Mill, Burwell

A wind-powered corn mill in the historic county of Cambridgeshire, England.

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Stevens' Mill which is located next to the Museum was built around 1820. There was an older mill on the same site previously, foundations of it were discovered during excavations in the ground floor in 2013.

Stevens' Mill was owned and run by several generations of the Stevens family, producing flour and animal feeds up to the mid 1950’s when it closed. By this time the mill was only producing animal feeds for local farmers. The mill and the adjacent field were then sold to a local construction firm a few years later.

There was a lot of opposition to the possible demolition of the mill, this never happened due to it being a Grade II* listed building. The developers sold the mill to the local council who in turn sold it to a preservation trust.

The trust then started the enormous task of restoring the mill. The mill was in quite a bad state as about 15 years had passed since the mill closed and probably more than that since any maintenance was done.

The mill is a clunch built tower windmill with four storeys, tarred over. It has a vertically boarded cap with a fantail which turn into the wind, and it has four patent shuttered sails. Inside the mill are 3 pairs of stones, sack hoist, grain cleaning machine and dressing machine. The millstones are all under-driven.

The sails and fantail had rotted badly, the wooden cap also was rotten and was letting rain water in. Fortunately the rest of the machinery was in fairly good condition. The cap was rebuilt with an aluminium sheet skin instead of a wooden one as it is now virtually maintenance free. A local firm of carpenters rebuilt the sails using measurements from the old ones.

The length of a pair of sails from tip to tip is actually more than the height of the mill. As the sails are attached to the mill in the halfway point between each pair and over 40 feet above the ground the end of a sail at its lowest position is slightly above the height of the top of the doors on the ground floor.

The mill is owned by Burwell Museum Trust and is Grade II* Listed.

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Full details

Power source Wind
Mill type Tower mill
Mill function Corn mill
Archive ID 2395
Location Burwell
Historic county Cambridgeshire
Country England, United Kingdom
NGR TL 59024 66413
Latitude/longitude 52.27302882, 0.32932600

Location

Gallery

  • Burwell mill, photo Rex Wailes
  • Exterior image with sheds taken on 15/09/1934. Postcard from the H E Simmons Collection
  • Glass negative of the interior, showing a view of the meal hopper. From 1948 in the Hallam Ashley Mill Photograph Collection
  • Taken in 1948, this is a glass negative view of the sail, from the Hallam Ashley Photograph Collection
  • Photo taken 10/08/1950 from the Stephen Buckland Collection. Shows outside view of the mill
  • 1970 photograph, part of an ongoing photographic survey of UK windmills from the Guy Blythman Collection, showing it derelict
  • Technical drawing from 1977 showing elevation and section, by George H Brookes.
  • Photo by Mark Berry, 14 May 2016.

References

Contributors

Mark Berry, May 2016.

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