We’ve just received this very interesting story and some images from Leslie Fuller in France.
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:-
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.
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 and Raymond 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 and 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.
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).
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:-
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.
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.
The windmill’s unmistakable silhouette makes it one of the most distinctive features of Britain’s landscape.
From the basic mill to the complex, from the tiny to the tall, windmills were rendered obsolete by the advent of new technologies, firstly steam then electricity. However, some mills remain as beacons of our heritage. Located on the Fylde coast, or “Windmill Land” as it has been called, Marsh Mill has been saved and restored through a mixture of fortuity and community action.
Situated in the northwest of England, Fylde is the area of land between the Trough of Bowland, the Ribble Valley and the Irish Sea. At one point there were over 35 windmills on the Fylde coast.
This predominance of windmills earned the area its name, Windmill Land. Charles Allen Clarke coined the phrase. Born in 1863, he was sent to work in a local factory mill at the age of 13. After being emancipated, he later turned his talents to journalism. Clarke was to become the editor of the Blackpool Echo.
Windmills throughout history
Evidence of windmills in England dates from the 12th Century, though there are earlier references in the Domesday Book to animal or water-powered mills. Windmills were popular in areas such as Fylde for two reasons. Firstly, their function, grinding corn, was a necessity in an arable area such as this. Secondly, wind power is plentiful on the breezy Fylde coast, making the choice of wind over water mills an obvious one.
In their heyday during the 1840s, there were several thousand mills operating in Britain. Nowadays, few windmills remain and even fewer are functional, making Marsh Mill something of a national treasure. Marsh Mill is a fine example of a tower mill, the third generation of mills.