"A Tale Of Two Mills" Part 2 - Heage Windmill, Derbyshire
w/e 29 August 2004
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Heage Windmill

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.
Ironstone Tower

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 Camberwick 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.
Top To Bottom

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.
Educational Experience

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 like this?

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.

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