Thursday, 27 October 2016

Windmill, Houghton Regis


A corn mill once stood on corn fields of Houghton Regis. To the north, the northern slopes of Houghton Regis, to the west would become the main quarry, to the south became Millers Way.

In 1777 the hill on which the mill stood was mentioned in a proposal for a footway diversion.


This excerpt above comes from Bedfordshire County Records 1714 to 1832.

The 1762 Survey Map indicated no sign of a mill on the site. Seven Acres was basically the area of modern day Houghton Regis Primary School:



Bucks Herald, 26th February 1842. - “MAN KILLED BY A WINDMILL — Last week a man named James Messenger, was killed at Houghton Regis, by the sails of a windmill. It appeared that whilst about his work there he imprudently passed close to the sweeps of the sails to get to a door, and one of the fans struck him on the back part of the head. The poor man was struck to the ground with great violence and was picked up insensible. His master rendered assistance and forwarded a messenger to Dunstable for a surgeon, who, in examination found that there was no fracture of the skull, but the poor man was labouring under a severe concussion of the brain, and in a few days after he died.”

1874: The Houghton Steam Corn Mill is offered for Sale by Auction (see fascinating account on page 204 of Dunstable History Society Newsletter) captured below, and was sold to the tenant, Mr Smith, for £1,200.





In the picture below, the mill is on the end of "Mill Lane".





In 1927 (above), the mill building is just about see-able at the end of Mill Lane, with the cement works (now Townsend Road and Blackburn Road) lower right. Blue Waters is in the middle distance, and after being a lagoon, became a council waste tip, and, later, as it is today, a woodland.


The location of the mill was pinned on the Mills Archive website.NGR TL 012 238, Latitude 51.90356, Longitude -0.53043823. Arthur C Smith travelled throughout the country by bicycle in the 1970s and 1980s, locating and recording windmill sites. The results of these investigations were published between 1974 and 1989 in the County Windmills series.

picture: Tom Burnham
The perspective in this colour picture looks towards the former quarry chimneys on Houghton Rd (now Townsend Farm Rd / Blackburn Rd).
Commenting on Flickr,
Alan Batham 2012 
The site of fat mac tower (the wind mill) is now a huge housing estate. I used to live in Mill Lane, which was the road leading to the mill, just to the left of the houses in your shot.
Paul Richardson in 2013

The story goes that this stub had a water tank perched on the top but this fell off one day and flooded the houses in Mill Road.The remains lasted till about 1995- 96 when the area was re-developed for housing. The tower was roughly at what is now the top end of Millers way."

Source of this picture Tower Mill, pen and ink drawing, 8 April 1938.
Creator: Wood, Karl Salsbury (1888-1958), artist. A colour version of this appears to be held by Lincolnshire museums, entitled, 'DERELICT MILL TOWER, HOUGHTON REGIS, BEDFORDSHIRE' with the description, "View of the base of a derelict mill tower, converted with a water tank."




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