Fulwell Mill - May 2018

27th June 2018

The sails finally were put on recently after the third attempt. We were beaten by ‘Beast from the East’ and even snow, but we got there in the end and the result is pretty impressive.

BBA have inspected and reported on the mill since 2012 our first report concluded that the condition of the moving parts: cap, sails and fantail needed replacement. We recommended that the fantail and arms be removed promptly. Demolitions were carried out in 2013. We revisited in 2015 to further assess the structure and fittings and reported that their condition was further deteriorating and action was needed.

Luke Bonwick, Millwright Consultant http://www.bonwick.co.uk/ was engaged by us to assess the mill and repair options. His report summary of February 2015 identified that the cap was unsalvageable and that all the external moving parts needed replacement to correct historical designs.

Originally the mill carried a pair of Hooper’s roller-reefing sails, patented in 1789. No other English mills retain this type of sail so no other working examples were available to study. It was felt impracticable to research, develop and test a working prototype as part of this project. And canvas sails were not practicable to be managed by volunteers.

It was decided to retain the existing shuttered sail design and modify it to replicate the c1900 appearance. This will result in a stronger, longer-lasting sail assembly. The rear striking gear has been re-engineered. The sails are at their historic, full-length of 10.5m radius rather than the shorter sails used at the last restoration.

A further important historical aspect to the mill, and as a consequence making it unique, is the replication of the fantail and fan stage design seen on the c1900 image and known, from early photographs, to have been used at Newcastle windmills. Fulwell is the only mill to have this type of fan stage – it is a unique regional variation that represents an important stage in the development of fantail design. Catching the wind led the early millwrights to develop a horizontally projecting fanstage initially. The Lincolnshire millwrights honed the design and reached a pinnacle of performance with a high, narrow fan stage. Fulwell Mill represents the intermediate stage of the development by combining a large rearward projection with high-set, narrow blades.

Work commenced in 2017 by Owlsworth  http://www.owlsworthijp.co.uk/ and completed in May 2018 with the sails installation. They are not fully shuttered. The intention is that the cap turns to the wind and that on demonstration days the sails will idle round.

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