Sunday, June 09, 2013

Drapers Mill Margate

St Peter's Footpath, Margate, Kent CT9 2SP
I found I was only a short walk away from one of the last working windmills in Kent last week. Drapers Mill in Margate is a lovely restored mill, built by the Canterbury millwright John Holman in 1845.
Steam power was added to the wind power in the early twentieth century untill the sweeps and fantail deteriated and a gas engine brought in which powered the mill untill the mid 1930s.

 After the windmill stopped grinding corn it became used as a depot for storing materials and finally a tuck shop.
It was the headmaster of the local school, Mr Towes, who initiated the Drapers Mill Trust in 1965 working towards restoring the now delelict mill. Work was completed in 1975 and the mill was able once more to grind corn. Something it still does occasionally as a demonstration of the mills working.

The Drapers windmill is open on Sundays 2 till 4pm in June, July and August  (but check dates on 01843) 291696/220995 ) and staffed by very knowledgeable volunteers.  More volunteers are needed though so that the mill can open more regularily.

I was shown round by Robin who took me up two floors of the mill, up steep ladders, (not for the less mobile unfortunately.) We also went around the outside walkway and during the tour Robin was full of information about the history and workings of the mill, which I enjoyed hearing about.

There is a museum downstairs full of all sorts of equipment and treasures including tools, lamps and mumified rats. The gas engine is also still in situ with its large wheel, next to the museum.
A small shop provides postcards and souvenirs and outside is a lovely small garden space where you could sit on the grass and picnic.

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