Pitstone Windmill, Buckinghamshire, England, 1970s.

David A. L. Davies

Meerbusch, Germany

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Artist's Description

Pitstone Windmill stands in the north east corner of a large field near the parish boundary of Ivinghoe and Pitstone in Buckinghamshire. It is thought to have been first built circa 1627 as this date is carved on part of the framework. This is the earliest date to be found on any windmill in the British Isles. It should be remembered that such a structure would have had to have frequent repairs made to it, so it is quite possible the mill predates 1627.

The design of the mill is what is known as a post-mill. This means the whole superstructure of the mill rests on one main post. This post arises from ground level through brick and a foundation chamber; the post then acts as a pivot for the timber built structure above with the sails. Consequently, the upper section of the mill and sails could be turned towards the direction of the wind (reinforcements added in the 20th century now prevent the upper section from turning). The mill machinery in the upper rotating section was reached by a long flight of external steps.

For many hundreds of years grain grown in the two adjoining villages was ground at the mill into flour. In 1874 the mill was bought by Adelbert Wellington Brownlow Cust, 3rd Earl Brownlow who owned the nearby Ashridge Estate. He subsequently let it to a local farmer, who ran a successful milling business from the mill.

In 1902 the mill was seriously damaged during an enormous gale, damaging it beyond the price of economic repair. Around 1922 the derelict ruined mill was bought from the Ashridge Estate by a farmer whose land was close to the mill. In 1937 he donated it to the National Trust. However, it was not until 1963 that a band of volunteers began to carry out renovations at their own expense. In 1970, after an interlude of 68 years, the mill once again ground corn.

The cement works in the background was demolished in the 1990s and has been redeveloped for housing and a business park.

Today the windmill is open to the public on Summer Sunday afternoons.

This capture was made in the 1970s on transparency film and given the painting effect with photoshop.

Artwork Comments

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