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More Bloody Windmills

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Oct. 15th, 2007 | 05:51 pm
location: upton park, london
mood: i need hotdogs, stat.
music: curve - doppleganger
posted by: ross in hidden_london

Y'know, for a modern urban metropolis this city seems to have a LOT of old Windmills remaining in it. But then, London is nothing if not an ancient city that grew organically long before the curse of property developers ever sought to squeeze every square centimetre of land into a boring high monetary-value grid. So it's perhaps not so surprising that apart from the evident tourist legacy of the great and famous buildings, often tied to power and wealth, there is a significant if worn footprint left upon London by the remants of it's working past.

This particular impression has twelve elements. Although only about half are recognisable as windmills, the others being partial remains that have, in some cases, been incorporated into other more recent buildings. Of those that are clearly mills though, one is on meanly and jealously guarded private land where even the view of it is obscured, and only only two or three are actually workable (as opposed to working). Though I'm led to believe that plans are underway to place some of the others in that category in due course. These are two of the recognisable ones.

Photos are clickable for full size.

In late 2006 I visited Upminster Windmill and got a few shots of what was one of the most structurally complete mills around. In scale it is much larger than both Shirley and Brixton mills and finished in white clinker cladding, whereas the other two are both tarred black for waterproofing (though it must make them hot as an oven in Summer). At the Eastern end of the District Line and a few short pubs, sorry metres, away the mill sits in a large green space, surrounded on three sides by houses.

Upminster Windmill dwarfs local houses and can be seen for some way off

The birds they do fly...

The Cap from beneath

Unfortunately a few months after I took the above photos, the mill suffered severe damage to the sails in the early part of 2007, and as a result of ermergency maintenance is currently reduced to two sails.

The mill after the snapped third and unbalanced fourth sails were removed

Saw Brixton Windmill a few weeks back on the Open House London weekend. On a gorgeous hot day it was surrounded by food and information stalls and, oddly, a performing troop of Americana/acoustic musicians (The Bonafide Family Band) who served to provide entertainment for those waiting to get inside (limited to batches of eleven due to space and safety concerns).

The Ashby Mill, so called after the family that built it as a working mill when it stood alone on Brixton Hill, is located in the park just past The Windmill venue (evidently named for the landmark) so if you've ever been to that you've been within metres of the mill itself. This one is however quite obscured by the local buildings and trees and isn't easily noticable until one is in it's immediate vicinity.

A big, wind-powered Dalek, just breaking through the trees

Recently re-weatherproofed with bitumen

Noticably smaller than Upminster mill, this nonetheless looms above when close by

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from: whakiwhyg
date: Oct. 15th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)

Got no piccies but there's the remains of a windmill pump where windmill road continues from spencer park in SW18. I think it's a folly commenorating the site though.

Just near Wandsworth Common


Also there's the much more attractive windmill at Wimbledon Common:

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