Thurrock Local History Society: Windmills on their mind

AT the November meeting Susan Yates, chairman of the society, gave an illustrated talk on the windmills of Thurrock. Firstly there was an explanation of the different types of windmill. The internal workings were explained and the various stones described which were used to grind the corn into flour.

The history of the Thurrock mills was well researched where records exist. Aveley post mill, which was built pre-1651, was owned by the Barrett-Lennards of Belhus.

It was leased to various millers through the centuries and was demolished by the estate bailiff in 1916/17.

Aveley Football Club play on Miller’s field and are nicknamed the Millers.

South Ockendon smock mill was built in the 1820s, although there had been a mill on the site since 1295.

It was on the south side of the moat at Hall Farm. The structure also incorporated a watermill. The mill was octagonal with a traditional Essex boat-shaped cap.

It ceased working in 1923 and blew down in November 1977.

Baker Street smock mill was built circa 1796. It was unusual to have a female miller, but here in 1890 Emma Woollings was listed as miller and baker.

The mill’s working life was ended by gale damage in 1926, but from 1982 to 2000 the windmill was restored by John Smith and Tony Mudd.

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