Outwood Mill Millwright – Frank Fuller


Outwood Mill discovers an early millwright

We’ve just received this very interesting story and some images from Leslie Fuller in France concerning his uncle Frank Fuller who may have been a Millwright at Outwood Mill.

According to the photographs sent to us by Leslie, his Great Grandfather, one Frank Fuller was a millwright in the latter part of the 19th Century and was certainly known to either the Jupp Brothers (William & Stanley) or even the Thomas brothers (Raymond & Gerald).

Here is an image of Frank Fuller, this was taken in 1876 and would make Frank around 19 years old at the time:-

Outwood Mill Millwright Frank Fuller Ditchling 1876 story

As you can see from the photograph it appears that the man on the right of the image is working on a gear wheel for either a water mill or a windmill.

One would suspect that this might be the man under whom Frank Fuller trained as a Millwright.

The photograph was sent to Leslie around 1986 by Raymond Thomas as the inscription on the rear shows.

Outwood Mill Millwright Frank Fuller Ditchling 1876 Raymond Thomas Story

Whats even more interesting is that Raymond Thomas indicated to Leslie that Frank Fuller made a donation of some his Millwrights Tools to the Windmill. Raymond also confirmed at one time that there was an exhibition of these tools within the windmill.

Having looked through some recent photographs that we took recently at the windmill, it appears that there are tools all over the windmill. Some of these may indeed have belonged to Frank Fuller as Raymond Thomas indicated.

Here are some images of both the Roundhouse and the Stone floor showing millwrights tools hung up in various places.

Outwood Mill Millwright Frank Fuller Ditchling Mill Bills Stone Floor

The image above shows a row of “Mill Bills” that hang across one of the beams on the Stone Floor of Outwood Mill, these tools were used to “dress” the Mill Stones (Dressing the stones meant recutting the grooves in the Bed Stone that enabled the ground meal to exit the stones).

Outwood Mill Millwright Frank Fuller Ditchling Saws Roundhouse

The image above shows some saws that hang in the Roundhouse (the lower part of the windmill), these do appear to herald from the late Victorian period and are therefore contemporary with Frank Fullers time as a Millwright.

What’s even more interesting is the photo below:-

Outwood Mill Millwright Frank Fuller Ditchling Examination Results May 1876 Story

This image shows Franks examination results for the exam he sat in Machine Construction and Drawing. The certificate is dated 6th May 1876 and shows Frank to be 19 at that time. This then means Frank was born in 1857 and I feel sure he lived to a ripe old age.

A Visit From Franks Descendents to Outwood Mill

During the summer of 2011 Outwood Mill was delighted to receive a visit from the Leslie, the Nephew of Frank Fuller, his lovely wife Jackie and Leslie’s second cousin Barbara.

The party of visitors were treated to a tour of the Windmill and gained new insights into the workings of the mill and looked in depth at some of the tools hanging up in the windmill. Which, as a result of the research done by us we firmly believe these to be the tools donated by Frank in the 1970’s. (more to come on that).

Leslie and his family kindly sent us this wonderful picture of Frank in his later years.

outwood mill - outwood common - millwright - frank fuller 2


Certainly Frank Fullers memory and perhaps his workmanship lives on in Outwood Mill and we at the mill are indebted to Franks Great Grandson, Leslie for sharing this wonderful story with us and allowing us to publish these images.

If we find out anything more about Frank we’ll be sure to put it on the site here and if you are reading this and you have any further information about this story or any other history in connection to Outwood Mill we’d be delighted to hear from you.

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