Union Mill Union Mill, Cranbrook
Registered charity no.1031879

News and Events

CO-OP LOCAL COMMUNITY CAUSES

We are 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.

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

The latter will have to wait a while until our sweeps are returned so that we can try out the best positioning for the new lights.

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

Co-op Logo


CALEB's STEAM ENGINE

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


FLOODLIGHTING

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

 


STAGE 3 is NEARING COMPLETION

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.