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Draper's Mill
St Peter's Footpath, College Road, Margate, Kent
Draper's Mill
associated engineer
John Holman of Canterbury (millwright)
date  1845
era  Victorian  |  category  Windmill  |  reference  TR361700
ICE reference number  HEW 2066
photo  Harry E.M. Eagles
The last working windmill on the Isle of Thanet, an area of Kent once famous for them. It is a complete four-storey smock mill and is located on a site that has had a mill on it since 1695.
Smock mills have a fixed timber tower with a revolving cap, in this case a black Kentish wagon cap. Attached to it are white-painted double shuttered anticlockwise patent sweeps (sails) and a six-blade fantail. The timber ground floor covers a larger area than the tower — the extra width is used for the reefing gallery.
The present mill was built in 1845 (though 1869 has also been reported). The first miller was J. Banks (1847), followed by F. and E. Darby, Thomas Ind and then Thomas R. Laidlaw. It was wind-worked until 1916, when a 20hp gas engine was installed. The sails were removed in 1927 and work ceased completely around 1933-39, after which the mill fell derelict.
Demolition threatened in 1965 but the mill was purchased by Kent County Council in 1968 and repairs undertaken. A new fantail was added in 1970 and a pair of sweeps in 1971. Also at this time, the reefing gallery originally built for Barham Mill (burnt down 1970) was installed. Two more sweeps were added in 1974. Further restoration was carried out in 1965 and 1875.
Much of the mill's original machinery remains in place, including two Peak and one French burr pairs of stones, all overdrift from the Great Spur Wheel. There is a 2.6m brake-wheel with a wooden brake, and a sack hoist driven by friction from underneath the wallower. Also on display inside the mill are many items saved from the Barham disaster (Royal Navy battleship HMS Barham was sunk by a German submarine in November 1941) and from the old post mill at Ash.
Contractor: F.J. Doughty Ltd (1968 repairs)
Contractor: Pargeter & Lennard (1970-71 repairs)
Research: PD
"England's Vanishing Windmills" by A.E.P. Shillingford
The Godfrey Cave Associates, London, 1979
"The Windmills of Kent" by J. West
Skilton & Shaw, London, 1973 and 1979
reference sources   WofGWGE

Draper's Mill