Oldland Windmill, Keymer

Talk Oldland Windmill Keymer Tuesday 11th October
As the visit and talk were purposely held a week apart, this Report covers both events.
A party 23 members and wives visited the mill at Keymer. After a general talk we were split into three groups and saw all aspects of the mill restoration. Prior to the visit almost the whole party had lunch together at nearby The Thatched Inn, a very hospitable pub.
The Talk by Professor Fred Maillardet, Chairman of the Mill Trust, covered the history of the mill and the amazing amount of work, coupled with fund raising, needed to bring the mill back to working order so that flour was milled for the first time since 1910 on 2nd May 2009.
From abandonment of milling, the condition of the mill deteriorated so much that the present mill is almost a re- build, although there are numerous parts, which are original, including the millstones.
The mill is a Post Mill. The earliest record of it is on a map of 1703. It was in continuous use till milling ceased. It is thought to be unusual in that in the 1880’s it was fitted with a steam engine as an auxiliary drive on windless days.
The first moves towards restoration were made in 1976 which involved extensive negotiations to switch the ownership to a Trust. The first Working Party was held on 2nd August 1980.
What was so impressive was the quality of the restoration woodwork, perhaps the epitome being the cylindrical Flour Dresser. Some of the timbers had to be sourced from overseas as timber of the right size or quality was not available in the UK.
Altogether, it was felt that these events were very worthwhile adding to member’s knowledge of old technology and present day volunteer effort.
For members who would like to learn more about or be reminded of this outstanding restoration, the mill website www.oldlamdwindmill.co.uk is extensive including photographs of the work.
R Norton