"A Tale Of Two Mills" Part 2 - Heage Windmill,
w/e 29 August 2004
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
In complete contrast to Green's Mill in Nottingham's built up environment,
Derbyshire's contribution to this two part mini-series stands
on high ground in rural surroundings. Seen here from the adjacent
village of Nether Heage the windmill at Heage boasts two more
sails than its counterpart in Sneinton but this has not always
been the case as originally it too only had four.
Another contrast between the two mills is that whereas
Green's Mill is brick built, Heage Windmill's construction way
back in 1798 utilised local ironstone.
Those of us who remember the children's television programme
Green where Windy Miller always managed to miss the sails
as they swept past his door will be reminded of his good fortune
at Heage. The sails here almost reach ground level and when the
wind is in the right direction, they too pass directly in front
of the door. This is not a problem though as the mill boasts
two doors at ground level at opposite sides of the mill so access
is always possible through at least one of them. When work was
carried out on the mill between September 2000 and May 2002 (after
applications for grants enabling the mill to be restored had
received a favourable answer) many individuals and organisations
sponsored a shutter in one of the sails or the fantail. Each
one now bears a number which can be cross referenced with a list
of the sponsors.
A tour of the mill entails a climb to the top where the inside
of the cap can be inspected (top left). The guide will then take
you down the different levels and explain the milling process.
The other two images above are both from the ground floor. On
the right is a piece of equipment that sifts the flour into varying
grades. The image bottom left shows something quite unusual in
a windmill. Because of the danger of fire especially in wooden
mills it was not the norm to have a fireplace but here at Heage
with its ironstone wall this was not perceived as a great danger
and the miller enjoyed all the comforts of a home fire.
A visit to Heage Mill is not just a trip back into the past but
also an educational experience. On the various floors the mill
is littered with diagrams, examples and other sundry information
that makes learning an interesting time for all ages. Here we
see in a clockwise direction, surrounding the central picture
of different pulley combinations used to hoist sacks of grain,
exhibits showing how the millstones work; the great spur wheel
assembly; the fantail operation and the operation of the shutters.
But as we left the mill I found one of the main attractions especially
on a fine summer's day just had to be its location overlooking
the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. And so to end my "Tale
of Two Mills" I should close with "And they all lived
happily ever afterwards" and who wouldn't in a location
Whether you're a townie or a countryman, if you have the opportunity
I would recommend a visit to Heage. If that is not possible the
next best thing is to view the web site here.
There are also more images from the mill by Rob Ollerenshaw on
Guest Page 4.