Union Mill Union Mill, Cranbrook
Registered charity no.1031879

News and Events

Digital Telemetry for Traditional Windmills

We had some problems some years ago with the cap sticking, always a potential hazard with windmills. Some clever members of the Friends of Upminster windmill have developed a solution. Their website explains it as follows: “Digital sensors installed in the mill’s cap measure its orientation and transmit data to the smartmolen system, which checks the readings against observed and forecast wind conditions. Alerts can be sent via SMS text message when the system detects a tail wind situation or foresees the risk of one.

Device installed in the cap of the mill

The Friends of Upminster Windmill won the BAFM Impact Award 2021 in recognition of the benefits of this technology for both preservation and visitor engagement. If you would like to check the Union Mill's orientation, Click on the image.

OFFICIAL OPENING of the MILL, 7th September 2022

Some short informal speeches were made by Lesley Game, Chair of KCC, Susan Carey, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Windmills, and Sean Holden the KCC Member for Cranbrook. After our Chairman gave a brief talk about the mill's history, the red ribbon was cut, and an orderly tour of the mill followed, with stewards already stationed on each floor, and refreshments in the reception area.

The event was also attended by the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Godfrey Bland, and the Mayor of Cranbrook, Linda Page. (photo right)

Shortly before this event, Hawkeye Video captured a bird's view of the mill and surroundings with one of their drones.

You can watch the resulting video HERE

Two Mayors


Stags at Mill

In June 2022 the mill was visited by some members of the Stag Owner's Club. The Stag was a model made by Triumph from
1969 – 1977 in both hard and soft top.

Lancias at the Mill

In September, it was the turn of some enthusiasts who favour the Lancia Gamma. The Gamma was in production from
1977 - 2004.         Photos: David Hall


We were delighted to have succeeded as one of three local causes to be selected by the Co-op to participate in their Local Community Fund for 2020/21. The original bid was for a grant to purchase two specific items:

a) To buy Caleb's engine to help improve our visitors’ experience - see below.

and (b) to upgrade the floodlights on the mill to LED for eco-efficiency reasons.

Now that our sweeps have been returned we are trying out the best positioning for the new lights and they should be installed early in 2023.

We are VERY GRATEFUL to the Co-up for this grant and to all our local supporters who chose us.

Co-op Logo


Calebs Engine

In 1873, a steam engine was built by Caleb Oyler Russell to power light machinery in the mill's workshop. After the mill ceased business in 1958, the engine was sold to the miller at Cross in Hand Windmill, East Sussex. Fortunately, it turned up on Ebay a few years ago and was bought by Matt Yeoman and his father, who are steam engine enthusiasts. Matt loaned it to us, before we had to close to the public due to Covid, and it was on display at the mill for one season. However, he decided it really belongs in Cranbrook and has sold it to our Windmill Association.

You can watch a short video of the engine working (powered by compressed air) by clicking on the image.

You can read more about Caleb and his family HERE


Each evening the Mill has been floodlit, and is a remarkable sight for the Town and for Visitors alike. The original tungsten filament lighting will be replaced with energy efficient LED lighting designed to enhance the evening view of this Grade 1 Listed Building. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Mill Floodlit

RENOVATIONS STAGE 2 - Repairs to Smock and Painting - COMPLETED

In early 2021, the whole mill was scaffolded so that repairs to windows and doorfames could be carried out, followed by complete painting. Redec, the company responsible, decided to add wedge-shaped tops to the windows (photo below left) so that rain ran off, not back towards the weather-boarding as before. During August 2021, the scaffolding around the smock was removed, giving access to the staging. Rotten window sills and all the slats on the staging have been replaced with oak, which had to be imported from south west France, which caused a delay. The staging metalwork was cleaned and repainted, the chicken wire on the guard rails replaced, and then the lower scaffolding was finally removed. The brick base had to be repaired in several places and then repainted with special paint from Spain – another cause of delay.

Finished Window
Finished Window
Fantail Staging
Fantail staging
Staging Complete
Smock and Staging Complete

To CELEBRATE the completion of Stage 2, we organised a BUGLE CALL

Max the BuglerMembers, friends, and neighbours were invited to the mill on a cool afternoon at the end of August. The scaffolding was still in place, and from a platform around the cap, our chairman addressed the crowd of about 60 with a brief history of the mill (with a megaphone), including the story of how, when the mill was completed in 1814 by the millwright, James Humphrey, his nephew stood on top of the cap and played a trumpet. On this occasion, Max Chesters (right), who lives on the Hill, opposite the mill, played (very competently) a short fanfare by the French baroque composer, Charpentier, and was warmly applauded. After an encore, the onlookers were treated to glasses of bubbly. The proceedings were recorded for posterity by an overhead drone, courtesy of HawkEye Aerial Media of Maidstone and this was used to make a video of the occasion, which you can watch HERE.

Platform on High



New Stocks
April 2021 New Stocks being prepared
Sail Frame + Tim Whiting
Sail Frames Complete January 2022
Sail Frame + Tim Whiting
All Metalwork Sand-Blasted before painting

The Shutters are made and painted - now being fitted; just the Fantail to be finished.
We HOPE to have them and the SWEEPS RETURNED during MARCH 2022.

SOME PHOTOS of STAGE 1 - Removal of Sweeps and Fantail.

Fantail Disconnecting 3Sail-frames on Lorry Sweeps +Fantail gone

More details can be found HERE with PHOTOS
and a link to a VIDEO of STAGE 1.