ST MARY'S LANE
TQ 58 NE 13/11 7.1.55.
Tall octagonal smock mill, timber-framed on a brick base. The brick, re-pointed in cement, is part colour-washed; in places are remains of an earlier possibly tar coating. Horizontal weather-boarding (renewed) is painted white, though early photographs show it darker. The windows (wholly renewed) on three floors have fixed small-pane glazing covered with protective polycarbonate (which entailed sill removal). Opposing ground floor doorways are segmental-arched (blocked to rear), boarded doors, renewed but with original fittings. Blocked oculi to sides. At first floor, the lower gallery is of wooden boards supported by struts cemented into the wall with a wooden balustrade rail (all renewed); first floor square headed doors provide access at this level to the sails which could be controlled by a rope connected to the rope wheel above. The main sail structure (renewed) is in situ but the shutters (12 bays each side on each double sail,3 shutters per bay) have been removed and stored: most of these, marked with their position in Roman numerals, survive from the mid C19 installation of the patent sails, as do their cast-iron fixings. The boat-shaped cap (roof and vertical boarding of petticoat renewed) is designed to rotate to keep the sails facing the wind. At the junction of the four sails is the metal spider, the mechanism that connects the levers operating the shutters with the striking rod and thence the rope wheel on the opposite side of the cap. Here at rear is the fantail (renewed): 6 wooden vanes set at right angles to the main sails with a system of gears to turn the cap and sails to the wind. The metalwork including the spiky rope wheel and the rails to the upper gallery appears unrenewed.
The interior is on 5 levels . Some of the outer shell of timber-framing has been renewed including the wooden sills (replaced by concrete) which originally rested on the brick plinth. The structure comprises cant (main) and intermediate posts and studding with attached external weather-boarding. Some probably original wide floorboards are retained. Ladders or steps to each floor against E wall. Some of the posts supporting the machinery are lightly chamfered and stopped . The machinery is virtually complete and potentially workable with much surviving from the early period together with later particularly mid C19 modifications, which are usually identifiable through the different colour of the wood. Described from top. The Dust Floor below the Cap, which helps to exclude dust from the main operation, retains the Brake Wheel, with cogs of apple or pear wood, the Windshaft with Striking Rod (cast iron 1890s following storm) connecting the Spider and the Rope Wheel, the Curb ring beam, and the Wallower, the horizontal gear wheel which transmits the wind-power to the machinery through the main shaft. The Cap structure has been replaced but some of the original ribs are retained in store on the Ground Floor. The Bin Floor, where grain was stored before being fed through chutes to millstones, has the Main Shaft, with Universal Joint, Grain Bin and Sack Hoist, moved here1950s. The Stone Floor or milling floor has the drive to the Sack Hoist, the Wire Machine - used to separate flour from bran (later adapted to remove fungus from grain) with panelling of some quality, the Grain Hopper, 4 pairs of Millstones in wooden Vats with iron hoops, the 4th added in 1850s; French Burr mill-stone from the Paris Basin. The Meal Floor has the great Spur Wheel - the large gear wheel at the bottom of the main shaft with 1850s modification, storage bin and bolter - the belt driven drum-sieve, and trap door connecting with the sack hoist on the Bin Floor. The Ground Floor now has a concrete floor. The mill stands in an open patch of maintained grass, housing set back on three sides.
Butler A, Upminster Mill, 1968; including reproductions of Tithe Map and OS Map 1898;
Drury J, History of Upminster and Hornchurch, 1986;
King EW, Upminster Windmill and a Model (latter displayed in Romford Public Library;
Wailes R, The English Windmill, third edition 1971;
Watts M, Water and Wind Power, 2000
Detailed specialist information from Bob Sharp of Friends of Upminster Windmill including their leaflet.
Listing NGR: TQ5578186558