Outwood Mill Frank Fuller, Millwright 1876

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:-

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 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.

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.

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.

Millwrights Inspect Outwood Mill


Recently we had the renowned millwrights Owlsworth IJP come and inspect the mill.

Although the mill is in good order generally we had an inkling that the current set of sweeps are in need of some attention due to their age.

The current sweeps were last repaired some 10 years ago and having withstood wind and weather for that period of time has taken its toll, as expected and one of the sweep arms in particular is fairly rotten and could present a danger to visitors.

Whilst he was here, Neil from Owlsworth IJP took considerable time to look at every aspect of the mill and found some other areas that need attention such as some of the planking on the side of the mill and of course the mill stones.

Although Outwood Mill is legendary amongst the millwright community, Neil had never been in the mill (he’d driven past it a few times). He said it was a real pleasure to see inside and get a feel for our lovely old windmill.

We are now also looking for two pairs of mill stones to replace the old stones that in Outwood Mill at the moment. Whilst Neil was here we established that the Forward pair are likely to be Derby Peak Stone and the rear pair look like a pair of Burr Stones, possibly French (though he can’t be sure).

We are now waiting on Neils full report and once we have this then fundraising and grant applications will begin in earnest. Once we have the report in our hands we’ll bring you another update.

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