Woodhouse Eaves

Woodhouse Eaves Windmill

Without any doubt the most famous landmark in Woodhouse Eaves was the windmill. Situated on top of the highest hill in the village, it has been there since the early 1800's. The oldest available photograph shows a wedding party gathered for a special photograph in the late 1800's.

The mill is believed to have been made in Derbyshire and had two different types of sails. The normal ones have their canvas furled, while the shuttered sails were added as an experiment.
Standing on a fixed stone base, the entire mill revolved in order to face the wind. This type was known as a 'postmill'. Many windmills had a 'fantail' on the body which automatically turned the mill to face the direction of the wind. Woodhouse Eaves mill did not have one, and it is understood that the miller had to attach a couple of horses to the body in order to rotate it to the correct position.
The photos show the mill front and back. The bulges on the lower sides were to accomodate the large stone grinding wheel.

It last operated in 1895 when the main shaft was broken by a severe gale. Although no longer in use, the mill continued to be a favourite spot for visitors until the 1940's, as the following photographs will show.

The Hives family were the last millers. They lived in a cottage on the edge of what is now the village Recreation Ground. In the early 1900's it was in a rather bad state.

Repairs and alterations were carried out, resulting in a typical, attractive country cottage. However, time and progress took its toll and the cottage was eventually demolished to be replaced by the modern home shown in the final photograph.

The mill's days as a tourist attraction came to a sudden end on 15th. April 1945 when it caught fire and the wooden structure was completely destroyed. The following two remarkable photos show the final hours of the mill.

The stone base was the only surviving part of the mill. The next photo shows some of the village youngsters amidst the ruins

A fund was started to rebuild the windmill, however, nothing ever came of this idea. Recently a viewing platform has been constructed on the top of the original stone base. Although the hill is now covered with trees, the platform gives splendid views of the surrounding countryside.

A number of souvenirs exist of the windmill.
An excellent model of the Woodhouse Eaves windmill was made by Mr. Alick Pervin of Loughborough, who presented it to the History group. It is on display in the village hall.
A brass shoehorn also exists with the windmill as its handle, and a brass pipe rack, obviously from the same maker
There is also a splendid china model of the windmill in our collection.

Standing proudly in the grounds of Selby's Garage on Main Street is a large replica of the windmill. This was constructed about 50 years ago. The sails still rotate, although this is due to electricity and not the wind.

Many artists have used the Woodhouse Eaves windmill for their paintings.
These are some examples.

The photos could have been a little more square, but then, nobody's perfect.

A splendid sketch was discovered showing an early meeting of the Quorn Hunt on Windmill Hill. A close-up view of the windmill shows a horse and cart being loaded with sacks of flour. It also shows steps to an entrance in the rear of the mill, and a support wheel.
This obviously is a view taken when the mill was still operating prior to 1895. The artist is J. Sturgess. This could be John Sturgess, a well-known Victorian artist (1864 - 1903)who specialised in horse and hunting scenes.

Claude Preston was a villager born in Woodhouse Eaves, and who lived there all his life. It cannot be confirmed, but it is believed that he took the photographs of the windmill burning in 1945.
It is certain that Claude retrieved some of the wood from the ruined mill, and used his considerable woodworking skills to make several souvenirs from these.
One in particular was a superb model of the windmill, exact in every detail, reproducing in miniature each piece of weatherboarding and the sail details, down to the last nut and bolt. This is shown as a whole, with a close up of the support wheel and ironwork. Also the entrance in the stone base with it's hinges and locks.
The attention to detail is magnificent.

We were recently contacted by a member of the Beaverstock family in Loughborough who believed that they had an Alan White painting of the Windmill, and asked if it would be possible to add this to our museum. It was by Alan White, and a copy follows.

Another ‘find' has been discovered. We were contacted by Bridget Bujdoso who had a lovely tapestry of the Woodhouse Eaves windmill made by a well-known villager, W.E. (Bill) Greasley in 1950 . A copy of this is shown, together with Bill's signature. Bill had also made a tapestry of St. Paul's Church, but that will appear in a later section.