Upminster Windmill was built by James Nokes, a local farmer, in 1803. It is a Grade II* listed building and in terms of quality, completeness and significance it is widely considered to be amongst the very best remaining English smock mills.
It is now preserved and staffed by volunteers so as to keep it open to the public, and it is our ultimate purpose to see it restored to working order. You can read the latest on the restoration here.
22 July 2016
Last week I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview around the Visitor Centre as it nears completion. When you first enter the Visitor Centre there is a main reception area where people will be able to find out more about the site, its history and how the mill works before a tour of the mill itself. The space will also be able to be used for visiting school groups, talks and events. Volunteers have worked tirelessly creating fascinating 3D models of the site and archiving and restoring images which will be used in the Visitor Centre. Some of their work can be viewed on this website, just click the link to see more
Through beyond this there is an office for volunteers and staff, loos and the workshop. The workshop will be equipped with machinery to ensure that the mill can be maintained and repaired in the future.
Outside the Visitor Centre there is a large area to be landscaped. This will provide some lovely outdoor space to enhance the experience for visitors and offers further opportunities for educational visits. Another external feature is the brickwork of the Centre itself, some of the bricks are reclaimed from the basement of the original Mill House. The doorstep at the main entrance also recalls days gone by as it too is reclaimed from the Mill House.
In relation to the mill itself, October will see Willem returning here to Upminster to continue with the restoration work. He will be coming over on a monthly basis to work on the main body of the mill.
Over at the Workshop...
22 July 2016
As per the last update, the cap, sails, curb and other parts of the mechanism were removed at the end of May. They have now been taken over to Willem’s workshop in Holland for assessment and repair.
The curb is a large hoop shape which sits between the top of the body of the mill and the cap. It forms part of the mechanism that allows the movement of the cap. It was dismantled for transportation but has now been reassembled. Its condition has been assessed and suitable timber located for repairs.
The brake wheel and wallower, which sit in the cap of the mill, have had some of their cogs removed to enable Willem to order timber for their replacement.
This work will continue in Holland until the autumn, with Willem due to return to the mill in October to begin work restoring the smock tower.
If you haven’t seen the footage of the removal of the cap and curb the following links will take you to the video footage: https://youtu.be/cnHqV7rBvwI (Cap removal) https://youtu.be/_GnkgJEytI8 (Curb removal)
Work is Underway!
Upminster Windmill saw a truly historic event last week with the removal of the cap and sails as part of the restoration.
Willem Dijkstra, our Millwright, arrived on site on Wednesday 25 May to begin the long task of restoring the windmill. The restoration is expected to take two years, with the mill re-opening to the public in 2018. On 26 May all four sails were removed and they will be transported to Holland to be repaired. The last time sails were removed was in 2007 after damage caused by a storm, only two were removed on this occasion. Despite the fact the sails have been removed several times before it was still a rare opportunity to watch the sails being lifted up above the windmill by the crane – the whole process took up the majority of the day.
The cap removal on the 27 May really was a once in a life time occurrence. The mill was built in 1803 and the cap has not been removed since. Most of the morning was spent preparing the fragile structure of the cap for lifting. Understandably, this took several hours; the crane operator on the day confirmed the weight of the cap (minus its sails) was nine tonnes. Parts of the cap were rotten making the job particularly hard. Then, shortly after midday, the cap began to rotate in preparation for lowering to the ground. Slowly, it lifted and it was then a case of a steady descent to the ground which took around three minutes and went incredibly smoothly. The cap will also be transported to the Dijkstra workshop in Holland.
Andrew Conway, an Upminster Windmill Volunteer, Trustee and professional photographer captured some unique images of the day; he had special access to the site as agreed with Willem. Some of the amazing images he captured are featured alongside this article. Footage of the cap being removed can also be viewed here https://youtu.be/cnHqV7rBvwI
Closing for restoration
30th September 2015
Upminster Windmill was built in 1803 and was the centre of a corn milling business for over 130 years until its closure in 1934.
For the following eighty years it has stood as a symbol of a bygone age, its machinery static and its fabric deteriorating.
In recent times the Mill, in its field, has presented a proud and graceful image to the people of Havering, becoming an icon to many. Yet few people recognise it as the heart of a busy industrial complex of sixteen buildings where the families who owned it lived and worked. Its history has decayed with its buildings.
The Mill is owned by the London Borough of Havering and is managed on their behalf by a registered charity, the Friends of Upminster Windmill.
After much effort the Windmill Trust has secured generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Veolia Waste Management and the London Borough of Havering to enable a restoration of the Mill to be undertaken. This will bring the Mill back to full working order. Additionally the Council will manage the construction of an Interpretation Centre where visitors will be able to see our exhibits, view the history of Milling and hear the story of the Abraham family. and of course become absorbed in the fascinating tale of Upminster's heritage icon.
Request for Archive Material
30th May 2016
We have a huge archive of memorabilia about the Windmill but many of the records are incomplete.
If you have anything of interest which features Upminster Windmill, the Abraham family, local milling or the Bakery in Upminster, would you please send us (or contact us for collection) ANY old postcards, newspaper articles, magazine articles, photographs, objects, drawings or documents.
Don't worry we will keep them safe and will simply copy what you send us and we will return the originals.
Anything and everything is of interest.
Welcome to the Windmill
Welcome to the Windmill