Bidston  - The Mill

It is believed that there has been a windmill, on this site, since 1596. The mill was ideally placed to catch the wind and was able to produce over 100 pounds (45 kg) of flour every 3 to 5 minutes. However, the mill was difficult to access by cart. The previous structure, a wooden peg mill, was destroyed by fire in 1791 (although some sources state 1793). During a gale, the sails got out of control and the friction produced by the revolving wooden mechanism caused the entire mill to burst into flames.  The current building was built around 1800 and continued working as a flour mill until about 1875. After falling into disuse the windmill and the land, on which it stands, was purchased by Birkenhead Corporation and restored from 1894. There is a plaque on the windmill, which reads as follows:

This land, including the woods surrounding this windmill, containing with the adjacent piece of land known as Thermopylae about 90 acres (360,000 m2) was purchased from RG de Grey Vyner during the years 1894 to 1908 at a cost of 30,310. Of this sum the Corporation of Birkenhead contributed 14,625 and 15,685 was raised by public subscription. A portion of this land, viz the eastern wood containing 22 acres (89,000 m2), was purchased as a memorial of the late Edmund Taylor, of Oxton, in recognition of his great services in connection with the acquisition of Bidston Hill for the benefit of the public. The land belongs to and is maintained at the expense of the Corporation of Birkenhead. But according to the deeds of conveyance it must always be used as an open space and place of public recreation and must be preserved and maintained, so far as possible, in its present wild and natural condition. Special care being given to preservation of the trees, gorse, heath and also of this windmill. Bye laws have been made and a keeper and assistant appointed so that they are observed. The public, for whose enjoyment alone the land was secured, are invited to aid in preserving it from fire and damage.  (Now the Wirral Borough Council, they don't seem to be strictly adhering to the terms of sale!)

AD MCMIX. This tablet restored 1971

The building was badly damaged in 1927, once again. A public subscription was then raised, in order to carry out the necessary repairs. The windmill has been reconditioned several times, since. During 2006, the roof of the windmill was replaced as part of a refurbishment program, in order to maintain the structure. (photographs of the refurb below)  I have a photograph below showing a young lady on the bridge, dated 1918. No mention if the lost roof then, above. The image was taken in 1918 and passed to me by an ancestor of the lady.

Bidston windmill, taken by me in 1975 and the same shot taken on 12th February 2004, 29 years later. (The lady is still my wife!  - 2016).
And another at the same place and angle, this time 23rd May 2015


The Mill 1904.

.         The Mill in 1950 &. Jenny Minshull at the mill door


1937

1918

Thanks to Bill Hislop for letting me photograph the image left, of an 18 year
old young lady (ancestor)  taken in 1918. The Mill is roofless due to a recent severe gale. See also hill. The image below was taken in 1928, note - Mill is still roofless!!

A plaque on the side of the mill. 1971 restored, but date vandalised also! See below for description of what is written upon this plaque. After reading this plaque I can only surmise that Birkenhead Council are sadly lacking in their duties and responsibilities which, by law and decree, are bound to provide repair and maintenance of the Hill which, on my visit, appears to be lacking.

Edit: Feb 06: this is now in hand and thanks to the Friends of Bidston Hill, things are finally moving towards repair and conservation.

Inscription of plaque on side of Bidston Windmill

This land, including the woods surrounding this windmill, containing with the adjacent piece of land known as Thermopylae about 90 acres was purchased from RG de Grey Vyner during the years 1894 to 1908 at a cost of 30,310. Of this sum the Corporation of Birkenhead contributed 14,625 and 15,685  was raised by public subscription. A portion of this land, viz the eastern wood containing 22 acres, was purchased as a memorial of the late Edmund Taylor, of Oxton, in recognition of his great services in connection with the acquisition of Bidston Hill  for the benefit of the public. The land belongs to and is maintained at the expense of the Corporation of Birkenhead. But according to the deeds of conveyance it must always be used as an open space and place of public recreation and must be preserved and maintained, so far as possible, in its present wild and natural condition. Special care being given to preservation of the trees, gorse, heath and also of this windmill. Bye laws have been made and a keeper and assistant appointed so that they are observed. The public, for whose enjoyment alone the land was secured,  are invited to aid in preserving it from fire and damage. AD MCMIX. This tablet restored 1971. 

The present mill, a tower mill, was built after the previous wooden mill had been destroyed by fire in 1791, caused by friction from the sails revolving at high speeds during a gale. This mill too has suffered damage from fire several times, as well as damage from the frequent gales which blow across this ridge. Milling ceased about 1875. The Mill has been restored and reconditioned several times, and is in a fairly good state of repair.

Painting of Bidston Mill 1913
This is an image of Bidston Mill painted around 1913 by a Sam Pean of 124 Oxton Road, Birkenhead. It was bought recently, in auction, by a gent in Indiana, USA and was photographed and sent to me for my info. I checked out Oxton Road, Birkenhead, off Charing Cross, on December 19th 2004, but its bearing no resemblance to anything remotely resembling a Victorian Residence, being a low, one level shop. The building behind it is Victorian. If anyone knows anything about the artist, I would appreciate it and so would the paintings new owner. Below, the same angle, taken by me in 2003.

2006 A new roof is placed on the Mill

The following images are of the massive restoration programme going on at present on the Mill. It was scheduled to be finished in April 2006 but has overrun, but then again
better to get it right first time eh? These were taken June 14th 2006

And then in February 2007 -The windmill roof is done

 

Any chances of my visiting the Mill on its open days are minimal.
As I work every day that the Mill is open to the public.

 

Bidston Miller

In 1868 the miller was Mr Robert YOUDS, and his charge for grinding a bushel of wheat was 2d or 8d per sack who died April 27th 1855 aged 64 years
also MARY YOUDS wife of the above who died Feb 17th 1880 aged 89 years. Also ROBERT YOUDS son of the above died July 28 1892 aged 70 years
Also SARAH YOUDS wife of the above who died March 2 1923 aged 90 years. Youds Robert of Heswall cum Oldfield Cheshire
died 28 July 1892. Probate Chester 6 September 1892 to Sarah Youds widow. Effects 1557 11s 6d.  Youds Robert of Heswall cum Oldfield Cheshire
died 28 July 1892. Probate Chester 8 June 1923 to John Halliday police officer. Effects 1503 12s 6d. Former Grant Chester September 1892.

My thanks to Karl Heid for this invaluable information. 

Windmill Renovations - New Roof (Images: Genevieve Woodland)

View from the Top of the Mill




This painting of the Mill was sent to me by Christine Smith. She tells me:

It came from an autograph book of my mothers, probably about 1920s or 30s.

About 15 years ago, I donated it to the Williamson Art Gallery which they were pleased to have but recently I made enquiries and it had never been displayed and not likely to be apparently !  So they let me have it back for framing.  I don't know where the grey background came from which must have been added afterwards.  It was on pink paper.  I gather that the artist
(Oliver Silk)
had Bidston connections.
September 2009 >>>

23rd May 2015
 
   

http://www.flaybrick.com

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/index.php

Water fountain:

http://www.firehydrant.org/pictures/glenfield-kennedy.html

http://www.archives.gla.ac.uk/collects/catalog/ugd/001-050/ugd005-pfv.html

Other Sites

http://visitbidston.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.flaybrick.com

http://brynjones.members.beeb.net/wastronhist/p_iroberts.html

http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/Bios/roberts.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/doodson_arthur.shtml

 




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