Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Bidston Mill - Wirral

This is a black and white photo I took of the Mill on Bidston Hill in the early 1960s.

This brick built tower mill replaced a wooden 'peg' mill that was destroyed by fire in 1793, and was used to grind corn into flour for 75 years up until 1875. Although access was difficult for a horse and cart laden with sacks of grain or flour the top of the hill was the ideal place to catch the wind. In fact, it is believed that there has been a windmill on this site since 1596.

In this style of windmill the top or 'cap' could be turned so that the sails would face the wind, from whichever direction it was blowing. You can still see the large wooden chain-wheel which was used to slowly turn the roof around by a rack and gear system. The last miller to work in the mill was a Mr. Youds. Fortunately he did not meet the same fate as one of his predecessors. In those days there were two doors on opposite sides of the mill. As the sails could face any direction, and came close to the ground there were times when one door could not be used. The miller must have forgotten the position of the sails and he used the wrong door, was struck by the heavy wooden sail and killed.

With the introduction of steam powered mills, windmills felt into disuse. During the 1890's Bidston Hill was purchased from Lord Vyner for public use and in 1894 a Mr. R.S. Hudson paid for Bidston Windmill to be restored. Further work has been carried out over the years, most recently by the present custodians Wirral Council.

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