Cat no. 219

And Now They Rest

Running time18:05 Black & White 1939 East Anglia

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The history and development of windmills in East Angia.



The history and development of windmills, used as a source of power for 800 years. Some of the examples shown are outside East Anglia. However, the film was made with the help of the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Windmill Preservation Societies and most of the examples used in the film come from those counties.

The film begins with the idea of 'wind'. Trees blowing and clouds racing across the sky (this sequence speeded up). Bourne Mill in Cambridgeshire features as an example of a 'post mill', the oldest type of windmill recorded and built along the most basic designs. The first of its type was built in 1175. Built in 1636, Bourne Mill was the oldest surviving example. The film shows the miller adjusting the mill to face the wind. The post mill is turned on its post by a tail pole.

The next sequence shows a small 'smock mill'. This is at Herringfleet overlooking the Waveney River. 'Smock mills' had their sails on a revolving cap and this was turned by the tail pole. The miller, Charlie Howlett is shown doing this. The sails are seen turning, although with 'clothes' fitted. Most of these smaller 'smock mills' were used for drainage, having been introduced by the Dutch during the Fen drainage programmes. Soham Mere Mill in Cambridgeshire is an example of a larger smock mill. The film also shows the water wheel at the back. This is a larger smock mill that was adapted for grinding corn. Various mulit-sailed windmills follow. These include the eight sailed tower mill at Heckington, then the only one left working in England and the annular tower mill at Haverhill, with its unique circular sail.

The next sequence explains the development of the fantail. It shows Woolpit Mill as an example of a post mill with a fantail for turning the mill. Anglesey Mill is shown. This was a tower mill, pre-fantail, where a rack was placed on the mill and the gearing was worked by hand. This was the last mill of its type to work, although by 1939 it had been idle and derelict for several years. At Herringfleet Mill, Charlie Howlett spreads canvas over the 'common' sails. An explanation of the purpose of the canvas and of the mechanism of 'spring sails' is shown in close-up. 'Spring' sails had to be adjusted with the mill static. The film explains methods of attaching the stocks. There are some shots of grinding stones with one being dressed. A diagram illustrated the internal workings of a mill, followed by shots of the gears and stones working. The commentary mentions that there are only two hundred mills left working. There are shots of some of these and also some that have become derelict. Ramsey Mill, near Harwich is seen in action and there are shots of derelict mills with sails lying on the ground. Concludes with a sequence showing wind pumps and other devices that use wind for power, including a child's toy windmill, a glider, kites and model sailing boats.

Featured People:

Charlie Howlett

Featured Organisations:

The Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Windmill Preservation Societies

Featured Buildings:

Anglesey Mill, Lode, Cambridgeshire; Bourne Mill, Cambridgeshire; The Mill, Haverhill, Suffolk; The Smock Mill, Herringfleet, Suffolk; Ramsey Mill, Harwich, Essex; Soham Mere Mill, Cambridgeshire; Woolpit Mill, Suffolk

Valentine Durden; Brian Salt

Valentine Durden; Brian Salt

Ruth Walder

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