Little Marton Mill
New Preston Road, Marton, Blackpool, Lancashire
John Hays (millwright)
photo Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
Now used as scout troop headquarters and floodlit at night, Little Marton Mill is perhaps the most-seen of all the Fylde windmills, as it stands on one of the main routes into Blackpool.
Built on the site of an earlier mill shown on a map of 1786, Little Marton Mill has a three storey whitewashed tower featuring a cellar, vertically-set windows, a fantail and four double-shuttered anticlockwise patent sails. It was built for John Whalley by John Hays, whose name is embossed on the iron machinery.
From the cellar, a long underground passage led to the drying room, since demolished along with the other outbuildings.
Using four pairs of overdrift stones, the mill worked until about 1928, at which time the miller was Cornelius Bagot. It was then restored as a memorial to Blackpool schoolteacher and poet, Allen Clarke, who wrote about the Fylde windmills. There was a plaque to him inside the tower, now visible on the outside as local residents led by Clarke's granddaughter campaigned to have it moved in 2002.
The mill's fantail was removed in 1952 for safety reasons and the cap replaced with a triangular gabled timber one. The building was renovated in 1968 and four patent anticlockwise sails added: each 10m long and weighing 12cw. One of these fell off in the 1980s.
A 1987 facelift cost £88,000 for damp proofing, a new ground floor, a new boat-shaped cap in the local Fylde style, new internal timbers, a new eight-blade fantail and two new sails. A sail blew off in 1988 and another snapped off in February 1993. It was replaced eight months later using American timber. In August 1994, a stock broke and after that the mill stood for a year with only three sails before a replacement was fitted. The sails were repaired in June 1997, and the mill was repainted and the fantail and cap repaired in 2001.
Only limited machinery remains at cap level, the remainder below having been taken to Lytham Mill during the 1980s, though the Great Spur Wheel, main vertical shaft and wallower remain.
Contractor: R. Thompson & Son, Alford (1968 repairs)
Contractor: Joe Gillett, Wesham (1993, 1997, 2001 repairs)
"Collection of Photographs of Mills (1927-1938)" by E. Mitford Abrahams
John Rylands University Library of Manchester
"Windmills of Lancashire" by H. E. S. Simmons
Science Museum, London, 1977