Shirley Windmill, Croydon
Not far from London, in the centre of a Croydon housing estate, stands a windmill that looks as if it is fully operational but which, in reality, has not been used since the 1890s.
Today, it is owned by Croydon Council and is looked after by a dedicated band of volunteers who open it up once a month.
Surprisingly, the windmill is one of a number surviving in London.
Today, it is owned by Croydon Council and is looked after by a dedicated band of volunteers who open it up through the year.
The windmill was used for milling flour and animal feed using the great mill stones on the second floor.
The Danger of Fire
Fire was the greatest threat to the windmill, flour, if it catches fire, can be explosive. With that in mind, everything possible was done to reduce the risk of sparks and fire – to the extent that some of the cogs where made of wood to reduce the chance of sparks from meal gears grinding together.
These are the main geared wheels on the top floor transferring the power from the horizontal drive shaft connected to the sails down into the vertical drive shaft to power the millstones and other workings of the mill.
The Workings of the Shirley Windmill
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Top Floor – 5th Floor
The power of the wind turns the sails which turn a horizontal shaft connected to a transfer gear which rotates a vertical shaft.