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North Leverton Windmill (Subscription Mill)
North Leverton with Habblesthorpe, Nottinghamshire, UK
North Leverton Windmill (Subscription Mill)
associated engineer
Not known
date  1813
era  Georgian  |  category  Windmill  |  reference  SK774820
ICE reference number  HEW 770
photo  PHEW
This four storey tower mill still runs as a commercial operation. It was built by a group of local farmers, whose organisation continued to run it until 1956, when it passed to its present owners.
The mill was built with three storeys in 1813, reputedly using parts from a post mill at Fenton. At that time it had a standard truncated conical profile and common or spring sails. The fourth storey and new cap, sails and machinery were installed around 1874-84 by Thorntons of nearby Retford.
The 'new' cap is a 4m diameter Lincolnshire-style white painted ogee-shaped one with a high wooden ball finial, said to contain a bottle in which are the names of the men who built the cap. The sails were double shuttered patent anticlockwise type, some 19m from tip to tip, and there is an elegant eight-blade fantail.
The black tarred tower is now 11.6m high and the mill's overall height 14.1m. The tower's diameter is 5m at the base and 3.45m at the cap.
Thorntons formed the Subscription Mill Company, which operated the mill until 1956 when a new company was formed. The first miller was probably Charles Thorpe in 1832, then Thomas Thorpe in 1844, then James Thorpe 1853-74, then George Crooks (nephew of Thomas Thorpe) for nearly 40 years, then George Foster to 1955. Foster installed two new sails and repaired the fantail. The mill was operated by Albert Wilby in 1956, then Graham Wilson for a few months, then Wilby again 1957-61, then William Hethershaw 1961-90, then Keith Barlow.
Subscription Mill was one of only two mills in the county still wind-powered in 1941. By 1956, a new engine was being installed and in July 1959 a sail was struck by lightening. All the sails were then renewed, a new cast iron curb installed and a crack in the wall repaired, all by R. Thompson & Son of Alford. Lightning struck again in 1972. In 1973, two new pitch pine sails were installed, the fan re-boarded and the mill repainted and tarred.
The mill has two pairs of Derbyshire Grit stones and a pair of French quartz stones on the first floor, all overdrift with iron vat casings, the French stones having an 'alarm'. There is also a single pair of governors controlling both wind-driven pairs of stones, a wire machine driven from a wooden nut from the wooden clasp arm Great Spur Wheel, an iron brake lever, an iron shaft tapering from 5.25in. square at the Great Spur Wheel to 3.25in. diameter at the base. A pair of stones on a hurst on the ground floor is driven by an oil engine.
This is one of the last windmills, if not the last windmill, to be commercially operated in England.
Research: PD
bibliography
"The Windmills of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire:
Part II, Tower Mills" by P.H.J. Baker and R. Wailes
Excerpt Transactions of the Newcomen Sociery, 1962
"Windmills in Nottinghamshire" by D. Morley
Nottinghamshire Industrial Archaeology Society, NIAS Journal, Vol. 20 March 1995, Vol. 21 March 1996, Vol. 22 March 1997, Vol. 23 March 1998
reference sources   CEH E&CWofEWGE
Location

North Leverton Windmill (Subscription Mill)