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Cambridgeshire

   

Wicken Smock Mill

Wicken, Cambridgeshire

A 'smock' windmill.  Inside, the mill drove three pairs of millstones, the two larger pairs being of 4 feet 6 inches (1.37m) diameter.

Wicken Corn Mill is a large windmill with many characteristic Cambridgeshire features.

  • The tarred tower carries the white domed cap with its vertically boarded roof.
  • The cap carries the four large sails of 63 feet (19.2m) overall span and 9 feet (2.74m) width.
  • The sails open to spill the wind and control the power according to Cubitt's patent of 1807.
  • The cap and sails are turned to face the wind automatically by the blue fantail, a small wind rotor set above the rear of the cap.

Built in 1813,  to grind wheat into bread-making flour for use by the villagers, and to grind feed for the local farmers' animals. The How family owned the windmill for many years from 1891 onwards. After the 1914-18 War smaller milling businesses generally became less economic in England and milling by wind at Wickham ceased in the 1930s.

Temporary picture

By Gareth Hughes

After the milling operation stopped the mill became more derelict. The sails were dismantled, and later, the roof failed progressively in the 1950's and 60's. By 1971 Wicken Windmill was in a very poor state of repair. Fortunately at this stage Mr G C Wilson of Over Windmill fitted a temporary domed roof to Wicken Mill with the cooperation of the then owners, Mr and Mrs Johnson. This slowed the decay of the mill.

In 1987 the Wicken Windmill Preservation Group, of amateur millwrights and supporters, bought the mill to repair it to working order. This was to be a spare time project, with all repair work being done by the Group. Grants for materials were obtained from English Heritage and East Cambridgeshire District Council: the grants together with individual donations have allowed timber and metal to be purchased as the work has progressed. The repair programme has moved forward steadily, the wooden tower was strengthened and reclad, the cap was rebuilt on the ground and lifted back in place by crane. The replacement sails were fitted in 1996, and since, have been fitted with a complete set of shutters. The internal gearing has been restored and one set of stone furniture made. A small amount of meal has been produced. Currently, a 'wire machine', for dressing the meal into various grades is being made.

They are looking for others to join them in restoring this further.


Further information Grid

Location:

Wicken Smock Mill, Wicken, Cambridgeshire

Ceremonial County: Cambridgeshire

Grid Reference:

TL 571706   OS Sheet 154

Map Link:

Multimap
Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo

Route(s):

 

Best Times to Visit:

When open if you want to go inside. When not being worked on if you want to avoid cars. Access when not open is unclear

E-mail:

dave@pearce52.freeserve.co.uk

Website:

www.geocities.com/wickenmill/history.html

Other useful websites:

Limited other pictures on  windmillworld

mills open

Nearby Locations: Wicken Fen nature reserve and windpump mile. Stretham Old Engine 5m
Other Relevant pages:  

Classification:

Windmill

Date Updated:04/2008

Planning Grid

Location:

Wicken Smock Mill, Wicken, Cambridgeshire

Grid Reference:

TL 571706

Getting there:

About 9 miles south east of Ely, on A1123 in the centre of Wicken village. Behind house on A1123 High Street, Wicken

Access:

Access opposite the pub, 500yds west.

From the aerial photograph there appears to be a gap between two houses to access off road and under trees. There is also a back lane that runs nearer behind.

Parking:

Not Known

Facilities:

None

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Windmill, but its large and space is limited. Take a look at the aerial photograph to see alignments of views from other roads and access points.

What to take:

A variety of lenses, wide angle for close, telephoto to shoot through gaps from further away

Nature highlights:

Unlikely

Address:

 

Postcode:

CB7 5XR

Telephone:

Enquiries - Dave Pearce Tel - 01664 822751

Opening times:

The first full weekend each month, from March to November, and both days of National Mills Weekend, 10.00 18.00. Other open days; phone for details. They say "If the sails are turning we are open". Parties by arrangement.

Charges:

Don't Know - None specified

Photo Restrictions:

None specified. None from public right of ways

Other Restrictions: None specified
Special Needs Access:  
Special Needs Facilities: None, maybe facilities in Wicken
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed:  

CIN Page Ref:

wicken_smock

Date Updated: 04/2008

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