Friday, February 04, 2011

Sibsey Trader Mill

click photo to enlarge
Lincolnshire was, and still is, a land of windmills. More than one hundred towers remain standing, in various states of repair, sentinels reminding us of a time before electricity and the internal combustion engine, when wind power was harnessed to the cause of milling grain. Enthusiasts have restored a number of these mills to working condition, and charities and the energy of volunteers keep quite a few open to the public. The other day I visted such a windmill, managed by English Heritage, at the village of Sibsey a few miles north-east of Boston.

The Sibsey Trader Mill was built in 1877 by Saunderson of Louth to replace a small post-mill. It is a striking building, one of the few remaining 6-sail English mills, measuring 74 feet to the top of its cap, with six floors. In the flat landscape it looks taller than it is, and compared to many it is of only average height. The mill was used commercially until 1954 by which time it was operated with four sails. After it closed it became derelict. However, in 1971 it was taken into the care of the Department of the Environment and restored to static condition. In 1981 further work restored it to working condition. Today visitors can see the complete process of milling and can buy bags of the stone-ground wholemeal flour. We did so and found that bread made with it was of a "smoother" consistency than that made with most commercially supplied brands.

I enjoy photographing windmills, not only for the beauty of the part building/part machine structure, but because they offer so many different possibilities for an image. On this occasion I decided to set the building in its landscape and let it be seen against the soft winter sky. For other photographic approaches to Lincolnshire windmills see these images of Heckington, Heckington again, Maud Foster, Boston, Burgh le Marsh, and Moulton. For a wider collection of my windmill images from across the country, click here.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 70mm
F No: 7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On