Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Dobson's Mill, Burgh le Marsh

click photo to enlarge
In recent years I've taken an interest in the half-machine/half-building that is the windmill. In my journeys around Britain I come across them reasonably regularly. They aren't evenly spread through these windy islands: in the hills and mountains of the north and west the water-powered mill located on a stream or river was more often favoured, though on the Fylde Plain of west Lancashire they were found (and still are found) in sufficient numbers that it was known as "windmill land". In the main, however, the east and south of England was the domain of the windmill and it is here that the majority of those that remain can be seen. Many windmills have lost their sails and remain as forlorn, tapering towers, sometimes with, but more often without, their original cap. A significant number of these have been turned into desirable residences. Those with sails are usually in the hands of local authorities, charitable trusts established for the purpose of maintaining the structure, or are the property of private owners. A while ago I visited Moulton windmill in south Lincolnshire: the other day I had a look at Dobson's Mill at Burgh le Marsh near Skegness, also in Lincolnshire.

This windmill is owned by the local council and looked after by a small group of enthusiastic volunteers. It is a tarred, brick-built, five storey structure erected in 1813 by Sam Oxley of Alford. One of the features that distinguishes it from most other tower windmills is the fact that its five sails are left-handed, which means they rotate clockwise. I had a tour of the inside, and found that quite a bit of the original, early nineteenth century fittings and machinery are still in place. My main photograph shows two of the millstones, the top one partly encased in wood of Georgian-period manufacture. Resting on it are a variety of old tools, including some that are used in re-cutting the heavy stones after they have become worn through the regular grinding of corn. The sight of these haphazardly assembled old implements seemed a good subject for a sepia-toned image, and that is how I present it.The smaller image shows the windmill in context with its attendant corrugated steel sheds.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1 (Photo 2)
Camera: Lumix LX3 (Olympus E510)
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.) (15mm (30mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2 (6.3)
Shutter Speed: 1/30 (400)
ISO: 200 (100)
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV (-0.3 EV)
Image Stabilisation: On