Friends of

Upminster Windmill

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.

         Would you like to help?        

 

The Friends of Upminster Windmill are looking for volunteers to help with maintaining the garden area around the new visitor centre and the wildflower area around the windmill.

 

The magnificent garden around the new visitor centre was constructed entirely by volunteers of the Friends of Upminster Windmill and a wildflower area around the mill is getting well established. These areas will be open to the public once the restoration of the mill has been completed.

 

The gardens are maintained by a friendly group of volunteers who work each Tuesday. The hours are flexible. Teas and coffees are available all day and volunteers who stay over the lunch period bring their packed lunches and enjoy a team picnic in either the garden or the building, which is equipped with modern facilities.

 

The work is suitable for all ages and skill levels. Some of the volunteers are skilled and experienced gardeners while others simply come and give it a go. A lead volunteer provides guidance. The work is therapeutic, healthy and enjoyable and you would be helping to maintain Havering’s most iconic heritage site.

 

For more information either talk to one of the volunteers on a Tuesday or email info@upminsterwindmill.org

 

We are hoping that the final stages of the mill restoration will be completed during the next few months, enabling the mill to be reopened to the public in April 2022.

 

Friends of Upminster Windmill: 11 August 2021

 

                                                                                                                    

Formula 1 style telemetry for our 200-year-old windmill (6 March 2021)

Another First for Upminster

 

Windmills are liable to storm damage, with particular vulnerability when the wind comes from behind the sails. The free rotation of the cap, driven by the fantail, should prevent this, though a sudden change in the wind or a mechanical failure can leave the mill exposed. Remote monitoring through our webcam has been enhanced by the introduction of an ingenious piece of “Internet of Things” technology devised and built by one of our members, Justin Coombs, on our behalf. There are four elements:

 

A weather station, kindly donated by Cliff Featherston and installed on the roof of the visitor centre, monitors the weather conditions.

 

A specially designed digital compass has been installed in the cap of the mill. This is a battery powered device which measures the orientation of the cap using a digital magnetometer and transmits the readings through a wireless signal.

 

The signals are picked up by an “Internet of Things” gateway installed in the visitor centre.  The device is part of The Things Network - just zoom into the worldwide map at https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/map and look for Upminster Windmill.

 

Data from the weather station and the compass travels through the internet to smartmolen.com for processing and analysis.  The live data, together with the forecast weather, is now displayed on our website.

 

Further enhancements are planned to issue alerts when the mill is at risk and to provide deeper analysis and insight into the cap’s behaviour under different wind conditions.  We also intend to present this insight on a digital display in the visitor centre which will bring to life the challenges of harnessing wind power.

 

This monitoring is in addition to our regular checks and maintenance carried out by millwrights and volunteers at the windmil.

 

Click here to see either live view: Live Camera, or, Live Weather Station

                                                                                                                    

Formula 1 style telemetry for our 200-year-old windmill (6 March 2021)

Another First for Upminster

 

Windmills are liable to storm damage, with particular vulnerability when the wind comes from behind the sails. The free rotation of the cap, driven by the fantail, should prevent this, though a sudden change in the wind or a mechanical failure can leave the mill exposed. Remote monitoring through our webcam has been enhanced by the introduction of an ingenious piece of “Internet of Things” technology devised and built by one of our members, Justin Coombs, on our behalf. There are four elements:

 

A weather station, kindly donated by Cliff Featherston and installed on the roof of the visitor centre, monitors the weather conditions.

 

A specially designed digital compass has been installed in the cap of the mill. This is a battery powered device which measures the orientation of the cap using a digital magnetometer and transmits the readings through a wireless signal.

 

The signals are picked up by an “Internet of Things” gateway installed in the visitor centre.  The device is part of The Things Network - just zoom into the worldwide map at https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/map and look for Upminster Windmill.

 

Data from the weather station and the compass travels through the internet to smartmolen.com for processing and analysis.  The live data, together with the forecast weather, is now displayed on our website.

 

Further enhancements are planned to issue alerts when the mill is at risk and to provide deeper analysis and insight into the cap’s behaviour under different wind conditions.  We also intend to present this insight on a digital display in the visitor centre which will bring to life the challenges of harnessing wind power.

 

This monitoring is in addition to our regular checks and maintenance carried out by millwrights and volunteers at the windmil.

 

Click here to see either live view: Live Camera, or, Live Weather Station

 26 February 2021

 

Remaining stages of the restoration

 

The cap and sails of Upminster Windmill were lifted into position on 30 November 2020 and, since that time, the cap has been turning freely to ensure the sails face continuously into the wind.

 

Over the winter, extensive improvements have been made to the grounds immediately surrounding the windmill. Old vegetation has been removed and the grounds have been levelled. A mixture of second-hand railway sleepers and pebbles now mark the positions of the many buildings which once stood on the site. Some hardstanding has been introduced to make it easier for visitors to access the mill and visitor centre. A cycle rack and two disabled parking bays have been added and grass seed will be sown across the area during the early spring.

 

The millwright will return in the spring to complete the task of getting the internal machinery working so that flour can be milled again. The concrete floor that was installed in 1949 will be removed and replaced with a wooden one to match the original design.

 

A new electrical supply and new fittings will be installed.

 

Once the work of the contractors is finished and the new grass is established, the whole area of the field will be reopened to pedestrians. Because of the COVID restrictions and the limited space within the mill, it is not yet possible to say when the mill will reopen to the public.

 

The webcam installed to enable the lifting of the cap and sails to be viewed on the internet remains in place to enable the rotation of the cap to be monitored to ensure it is behaving as expected. This and our weather station can be viewed by selecting Live Feed from the top menu.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restoration of Upminster Windmill

 

The cap and sails of Upminster Windmill are turning again. Their re-installation on 30 November 2020 was witnessed by many local residents and thousands more via a webcam especially installed to ensure the spectacle could be viewed despite the national lockdown.

 

The lifting was as serene as it was dramatic. Having been refurbished in Holland and disassembled for transportation to the UK, the cap was rebuilt on site and weather-boarded at ground level. One pair of sails was installed in readiness for lifting – a technique not previously used in the UK

.

The two millwrights, Willem Dijkstra and Douwe Akkerman, were assisted by City Lifting, the crane hire specialists. The structure weighed 12.6 tons, increasing to 14.1 tons with the lifting equipment. It had to be lifted from a confined space, without rocking or spinning, and placed on the top of the mill within an accuracy of a few millimetres. The two remaining sails were then installed.

 

The various mechanisms have since been connected to allow the cap to be driven by the fantail, the shutters on the sails to be adjusted according to the wind speed and for the sails to drive the internal milling machinery, when the machinery is ready.

 

The cap is now rotating freely, ensuring the sails are turned continuously towards the wind. From time to time, the brake will be released to allow the sails to turn. The restoration of the structure of the mill is now complete. Work continues to restore the internal machinery and to replace the concrete floor, installed in 1949, with an authentic wooden one.

 

 

The windmill site now has a weather station to complement the live feed camera. Go to the Live Feed page to see both the camera and the weather station.

 

 

 

 

CAP AND SAILS WILL BE INSTALLED ON UPMINSTER WINDMILL ON MONDAY!

 

We are delighted to announce that the cap and sails will be lifted into position on Monday 30 November 2020.

 

This is the culmination of four years’ intensive restoration work by our Dutch millwrights – Willem Dijkstra and Douwe Akkerman. The cap will be lifted with two sails attached.

 

The lifting of the cap will take place during the morning, probably between 10:00 and 12:00, though it could be an hour or so earlier. The remaining two sails will probably be installed in the afternoon. We will post updates on our Facebook Page from around 08:00 and throughout the day.

 

The field will be open to pedestrians though national guidelines still require that no more than two people meet outside. If you attend please maintain social distance. You may prefer to watch the whole event from the comfort of your home via our livestream webcam at:

 

http://www.upminsterwindmill.org/live-feed.html

 

 

Restoration Update

 

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.

 

 

Structural Work

 

 

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

 

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.

 

Mill Frame Support

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

 

During the last few days, scaffolding has been erected around the Mill and a polythene cover applied. 

Scaffold

 

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.

 

Welcome to Upminster Windmill

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Welcome to Upminster Windmill

Upminster Windmill is managed on behalf of the London Borough of Havering by The Friends of Upminster Windmill. Registered Charity 1162180

 

Upminster Windmill

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