Norfolks lost wind pumps..

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Mikeymutt

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I always try to document as much of my home county's fading history when I get spare days at the weekend. I have covered the railways and most of the military stuff here. So thought I would try and document the wind pumps. So I have selected a variety of them to look at. Some were nice and easy to get too, but others were long walks or fighting through reeds and brambles to get too. If you have ever driven down the Acle straight to Great Yarmouth you could be mistaken that you are in Holland with the land flat for miles around. Along the landscape is lots of wind pumps, often mistaken for windmills. These pumps were built to drain the flat fields, the water would drain into dykes and the pumps would push the water in to the broads or the rivers. Or they would drain the marshes and the water would be pushed into large dykes. Some of these date back to the 17th century and were originally wind powered, later on they would have diesel, electric and even steam powered. The wind would move the sails which was basically a turbine powered by wind. This would turn gearing on the upper floor and this in turn would move a vertical shaft that would power cogs on the ground to either drive an eternal or internal wheel. Well that's what I could work out whilst looking at them. I really need to visit a restored working one to see how it all goes properly.

BOYCE'S MILL

Can't find too much on this mill, it was originally a three storey one, but like so many it was reduced to two storeys after the removal of the wooden cap and sails. I had done some digging and it seems it was constructed in 1770. It was later converted to steam powered and the remains of the steam engine shed is still there adjoining the wind pump. The mill race what the scoop would sit in is still whole.

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LIMPENHOE MILL

So this was one I had seen old pics of and fancied it due to some old machinery remaining inside, so i took the long walk to it. Upon approaching it I was disappointed to see that the door has had bricks relaid were the hole was, same with the windows. Well I guess it stops it getting vandalised or the weather getting to it quicker which ain't a bad thing. But it was a pleasant day and a nice walk, and the wind pump is nice and still hadn't he original a coop wheel on it which was good. The mill was constructed in 1831 on the banks of the river yare. It was built by millwright William Thorold, and was paid for by each person who owned some of the marshland. Cost would be judged on how many acres they owned.

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LUDHAM BRIDGE NORTH MILL

This was one of two of two mills near Ludham bridge, the other tower was demolished to make way for a mooring. Built in 1887 it was a rare pump that it had anti clockwise sails to pump the water directly into the river. It suffered gale damage in the 1910's and can imagine it was never repaired. Quite unique this one as well that it was used as a watch tower, then converted in to a pill box during the Second World War. The gun apertures have been built nicely into the existing brickwork. There is also a spigot mortar base hidden in the bushes which was nice to see. This pilbox would have provided defence from an attack up the river.

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MOYS MILL

This mill was a tiny one. Reduced to one level it's was small inside as it was filled with a diesel generator what was still working in the mid 2000's. So inside was quite grimy. Not sure when this one was built but pre 1900. The diesel generator was added at at a much later date to replace the sails. The diesel engine would have powered a turbine to drain the water. A tragedy happened here on good Friday in 1913 when a young eight year old girl was killed trying to rescue her younger brother who had fell in the pit whilst the mill was working. The boy survived but was very badly injured.

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To be continued.
 
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Mikeymutt

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OBY MILL

This mill was the oldest remains mill on the broads and is grade two listed. The mill built in 1753 and drained water from the marshes into the river. Not only did the cog system power the scoop but it powered a saw in the shed for work on the estate. There was also an auxiliary engine to power a turbine that would help drain the marshes during very wet times. I liked this one even though the mill was sealed. The shed with the remaining wheel and plinths was good enough for me.

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TUNSTALL DYKE MILL

This mill was prob the hardest to get too. Surrounded by a deep moat I nearly gave up. But then saw what looked like a thin bit of path I could get to it. But it was overhead height in brambles and reeds. So carefully making a path through twenty mins later I was in. And just seeing the big wheel inside was worth it. I really can't find much in this one but it did have a house next to it. It's one of two in close proximity. And this was the North mill.

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TUNSTALL SMOCK MILL

This mill is a few feet from the other one on the other side of the Dyke. It's the only smock mill on the broads. It's wooden cladding is quite pretty despite the mill been taken down in height. This was another fight with reeds and brambles but nowhere near as bad as the last one. I was surprised when I found an open door at the back. And the remains of an electrical pump system and was even more surprised to get in the windmill itself through a right gap.


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STOKESBY HALL MILL


Another nice walk to this mill, on a nice winters afternoon. The mill is stripped but a plinth site in there still and is,sinking sideways. But at the back is the remains of a marshmans cottage. Most off these mills had a cottage. And it's nice to see one even though it's a collapsed shell. It would have been a beautiful thatched cottage once. I can imagine it was a lonely life but quite peaceful, maybe a bit cold in the winter months. Stokesby pump was built in the 1900's and would have pumped water into the river Bite from the northern fields. The sails on here would be cloth and timber framed.

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The remains of the cottage.

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Thanks for looking. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. But I quite enjoyed hunting them out and will continue looking for them
 
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night crawler

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That is some excellent documentation of the old mills, a shame some are not restored like other wind mills around. I thought that the water ones there operated an Archimedes' screw for lifting the water from the fen to the river like in the Netherlands
 

Mikeymutt

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That is some excellent documentation of the old mills, a shame some are not restored like other wind mills around. I thought that the water ones there operated an Archimedes' screw for lifting the water from the fen to the river like in the Netherlands
Thank you very much. There are quite a lot around Norfolk that are actually very nicely been restored. I am not aware of what I guess you mean by a corkscrew effect. I always thought it worked from the scoop wheel to transfer water of the land
 

night crawler

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Thank you very much. There are quite a lot around Norfolk that are actually very nicely been restored. I am not aware of what I guess you mean by a corkscrew effect. I always thought it worked from the scoop wheel to transfer water of the land
If you click the link in my post you can read about them. The Dutch used them on the Dykes to drain the lower lands
 

Mikeymutt

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If you click the link in my post you can read about them. The Dutch used them on the Dykes to drain the lower lands
I did look at the link and it's interesting. I am certain they did not work like that here though. But I might be wrong.
 

Hayman

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Thank you very much. There are quite a lot around Norfolk that are actually very nicely been restored. I am not aware of what I guess you mean by a corkscrew effect. I always thought it worked from the scoop wheel to transfer water of the la

Thank you very much. There are quite a lot around Norfolk that are actually very nicely been restored. I am not aware of what I guess you mean by a corkscrew effect. I always thought it worked from the scoop wheel to transfer water of the land
I imagine a corkscrew is an Archimedes screw - a spiral inside a tube, turned by hand, by donkey etc or by an engine - in this case the wind was the engine. The idea goes back to before Archimedes, and can still be seen in use in countries such as Egypt, lifting water from the Nile to irrigate rice and cotton fields. I saw derelict wind pumps with Archimedes screws in Aden (now in the Yemen) in the early 1960s. See the attached photos. They pumped sea water into salt pans, where the water evaporated, to leave the sea salt to be scooped up and taken to barges. It was transferred to sea going ships. Using diesel engines to do the work, the saltpans were still in use.
 

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