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.
The windmill is currently being restored to working order.
Update 18 Nov. 2020
The cap and sails of Upminster Windmill are due to be lifted into position sometime between 23 November and 4 December 2020. The precise date will depend on general progress and the weather conditions.
The cap has been refurbished and is now reassembled on the ground beside the mill. The four sails have been rebuilt and are also ready for installation. Once installed, and following some checks and adjustments, the sails will be able to turn again.
A webcam has been installed to enable the lifting to be viewed on the internet. Simply click on the Live Feed button on the menu bar at the top of this page. When the precise date is known, a stop-press message will be added at the top of this bulletin.
For general safety reasons and restrictions imposed during the pandemic, it is not possible for anyone to be invited to the site. The area behind the heras fencing and the garden area around the visitor centre will be closed.
The open field and the driveway will be closed to traffic though pedestrian access will be maintained. Anyone visiting the field area is asked to remember the restrictions on meeting outside and to respect social distancing.
The blades of the fantail are currently showing a red emblem of a water lily. This is taken from the national flag of Friesland, the area of Holland where our millwrights live and where the refurbishment of the components has taken place.
Final months of the mill's restoration
The Mill is now visible once more though still without its cap, sails and gallery. The external weatherboarding has been applied and painted and the polythene wrapping and scaffolding removed.
The cap is being restored in the millwright’s workshop in Holland, where the external gallery and new sails will be built. It is hoped that the work will be completed later this year, allowing us to reopen to the public in April 2020.
Although public access into the Mill will not be possible until spring next year, our Visitor Centre and its gardens will be open on selected weekends this summer, with various events planned. Please see the Events Diary for dates and times.
New Events Diary feature.
We have introduced a new Events Diary feature in the form of a calendar that is easier to keep up-to-date and current. It shows all posted events and activities from the present date forwards. Click on any event to read the full details.
We are still experimenting with this feature, so bear with us whilst we get the format right.
This will not simply show major events, but all relevant event and activity dates.
To read recent Newsletters see the link above in 'See our content'.
Final months of the mill's restoration
Although the Mill remains hidden behind the polythene-wrapped scaffolding, much progress has been made and we are entering the final months of the mill's restoration.
The eight corner posts and the connecting timbers have been repaired or replaced. A new curb ring connects the tops of the eight posts and the whole smock-frame has been lowered back onto the brick base of the Mill.
The millwrights are currently repairing the floor boarding and will soon be installing the weatherboarding, which measures over two miles. At that stage, expected in the spring, the polythene wrapping and the scaffold will be removed to reveal a white-painted mill and, during the following few weeks, the external first floor gallery will be built and installed.
Work continues on rebuilding the cap of the Mill in the Dutch workshop. Once completed, the cap will be dismantled for transportation back to the UK and rebuilding on site. We hope it will be restored to the top of the Mill during the early summer.
During the late summer or early autumn, some of the internal machinery will be restored to enable flour to be ground. One of the pairs of millstones has already been refurbished, ready for reinstallation.
The final task will be the building and installation of four new sails, which should be achieved in the Autumn, bringing the main aspects of the Mill restoration to a conclusion. Electrical work and improvements to the grounds will take place later. It is hoped that everything will be completed and the Mill open to the public from April 2020.
Featured article by Cameron Southcott. Click here.
Even with the Mill wrapped in polythene there is still a lot of work going on.
Our millwright, Willem Dijkstra, has cut and shaped eight corner posts (each around 35 feet long) and is making good progress on the adjoining timbers. Due to the position of the doors and windows, the eight sides of the Mill are all different. In total 6 sides have now been rebuilt and the final two will be completed in the next couple of weeks.
The Millwright is also continuing his work to rebuild the cap frame.
Willem will finish cutting and shaping the structural timbers later and will then bring them to the UK. The main timber repairs will be completed in the summer, allowing the cap to be replaced later in the year. It will be early 2019 before we see the sails turning.
Work has been done inside the Mill, including the replacement of flooring boards on the first floor following repairs to the joists on which they rest.
Repairing the Mills Tower
26 September 2017
The next stage of the restoration has begun. Our millwright, Willem Dijkstra, has begun repairing the mill’s tower, which comprises the brick base and the wooden smock tower above which houses the four floors of machinery.
Earlier this month Willem (with just one assistant, Douwe), jacked up the entire four floors of the smock tower, including the internal machinery. It is now two inches higher than the brick base on which it has sat for over two centuries!
The gap has enabled the removal of the concrete cill, that covered the top of the brickwork and on which the smock tower rested. This cill was added in 1949 by David Lewis and Philip Leonard under the supervision of millwright Hector Stone. We know this because David & Philip carved their names and the date in the concrete.
The gap will be filled with two courses of bricks and the new cill will be oak both reflecting the original design. The smock tower will be lifted even higher for this to be accomplished.
Scaffolding the Mill
19 June 2017
During the last few days, scaffolding has been erected around the Mill and a polythene cover applied.
This will facilitate the structural repairs. Safe from the elements, the external weatherboarding can now be removed and repairs made to the structural timbers. These timbers have been examined visually from the inside and those requiring repair or replacement have been identified, though it is possible that removal of the weatherboarding will reveal more damage.
The scaffolding will be in place for about a year, at the end of which the cap and sails will be replaced and will again turn with the wind.
During the last few months, good progress has been made on refurbishing the cap and sails in the millwright’s workshop and some of the floor beams inside the Mill have been repaired.
The work is on target to complete in summer 2018.
See our content:
Welcome to Upminster Windmill