Newsletter of the Friends of High Salvington Windmill Autumn 2019
Our windmill blows the mayor’s mind!
The traditional annual fete was held on 14th July this year on a cool but dry summer’s afternoon. Hundreds of visitors arrived to enjoy an afternoon of fun and games. Attractions included many pocket-money sideshows such as splat the rat, smashing china, play your cards right, roll a penny and many more.
Honoured guests included Mayor Hazel Thorpe, with her husband Robin. Despite residing in Worthing since the 1980s, Mayor Thorpe had never visited the mill before, although her husband, Robin, and daughter Ange – visiting this weekend from Scotland where she lives – had both stopped by many years ago. Asked for her reaction to her guided tour of the mill, Mayor Thorpe said just one word: “mind-blowing.” She was very struck by the history behind the mill itself, and the work that volunteers had put into it over the years. Acting Chairman Jeff Best showed Hazel, Robin and Ange round the windmill, and later the Mayor introduced the Sompting Village Morris Dancers, aided by town crier Bob Smitherman.
Mayor Hazel Thorpe concluded by saying: “this weekend I have attended two events – Gay Pride in Worthing yesterday, and the fete today, and I am enjoying the contrast between the relatively new, and this wonderful look back at history. May your volunteers continue your good work, and we at the Council will do what we can to support you.”
The fete raised over £3000 – every penny of which goes towards the upkeep of the windmill.
Congratulations to Graham Carthew (left) and the rest of the committee (Ian and Andy) who organised this year’s event, and thanks go to every single helper who so willingly gave time and effort for the windmill.
Diamond Open Day
This year, 2019, marked the 60th anniversary of the moment that the windmill passed into public ownership. The Borough Council, worried that the mill would be destroyed by neglect and the weather, purchased it for £2250 and repair work began. But damage sustained during a gale in 1976 meant that the mill was once again in danger. The High Salvington Mill Trust was formed and the decision taken to restore the mill completely. The hurricane of 1987 gave the mill its first taste of renewed life. The great wind turned the single pair of sails for the first time, although the brake was on!
Sixty years on, the Trust decided to hold an open day to the public, to promote the mill and spark the interest of local residents to help us to keep up the good work. May 12th was the chosen day and hundreds of visitors turned up to look at the special exhibitions organised by the team of archivists (thank you in particular to Wendy Funnell for her leadership), take part in a photography competition, and browse the exhibitions. And of course, the guides were kept busy.
There was no admission charge that day, but funnily enough, donations added up to almost as much as would have been charged at the gate.
Every single person you see doing a job at the mill is a volunteer. We are quite proud of the fact that we have no paid staff at all. Without our brilliant band of willing helpers, nothing would ever get done. And get done it does! In winter the mill is subject to its routine maintenance, in summer the lawns get cut, the teas get served, the cakes get made, the shop gets stocked, the gate is manned, the mill is prepared, the grain gets ground, and the visitors are guided round our beautiful mill. So, thank you to everyone who gives their time so willingly. And a quick mention for some new volunteers who joined us in 2019: Kathryn Penny, (steps and guiding) John Ranger, Jeff Gillat, Frank Patten, (maintenance) Pat Morey (guiding), Angela and Derek McMillan (books), Paul Minter (Membership, see his biography below), Paola Fleming, Pam Nicholson, Frances Biggs (cake-making), Janet Peete, Sue Morey, Nina Sigston (teas, shop) Lynne Rogers (gate).
Captain Paul Minter – new Membership Secretary
Paul was brought up in Worthing and in 1975 joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, serving his country in the Falklands and the Gulf War. This service was followed by a period working in the Royal Navy, serving on a number of the Royal Navy warships and in several other senior posts in the MOD as well as onshore in Portsmouth.
On retirement in 2016 he became chairman of Worthing Sea Cadets and does voluntary work including for St. Barnabas and the Aldingbourne Trust. We are delighted to welcome Paul as our new membership secretary. He took over from Rachel Trickey, to whom the Board offers its thanks for her stalwart work, during 2019. Paul’s address (published with his agreement) is: 69 Hayling Rise, High Salvington, Worthing, BN13 3AG. If you have a subscription payment you wish to make via cheque please use the form below and post it to this address.
Star of TV and Dance
Channel 4’s “A Place in the Sun – Home or Away” chose our windmill to help property hunters Emma and Gracie Lofthouse to find the home they’ve always wanted by looking in the UK and abroad. Producer/Director Ruth Wilson, the sound engineer, and presenter Laura Hamilton filmed several sequences outside our windmill and mentioned some of the history behind it. Roz, Mel and Lucy let them in and gave them the information they needed to do the piece. The show will be aired within the next six months on Channel 4 so look out for it.
Another prestigious photoshoot was arranged with the Nicola Miles Dance Studio prior to their departure to take part in Dance World Cup. This is the biggest dance competition in the world. Over 20,000 competitors from 62 countries competing at their country qualifiers and at the World Finals each year. Seven girls (age 12-17) from Nicola Miles Theatre Studios (in Worthing) competed for Team England (one of two dance schools in England in this category) in the junior small groups section on Saturday 6th July. They danced a Turkish National Dance and came eighth in the whole world. Well done.
This autumn will see some major repairs to the roundhouse roof, which is leaking. It needs to be fixed before winter to prevent it from worsening and causing damage. A contractor has been selected and work started in September.
The team is still looking for a suitable pump to fit to the wind engine. Meanwhile, the lightbox on the wind generator is creating great interest, especially when the wind is fairly strong during an open day.
A vintage pump has been recovered from a local garden and work is ongoing to restore it and install it on the site, to create “hands-on” interest for visitors.
In our quest to make the site more wheelchair friendly Findon ‘Men-in-Sheds’ are working on a dual-purpose disability table/bench.
This year the Trust purchased a new gazebo which provides shade from the sun and shelter from showers. It proved very useful at the fete too.
Carols by the bonfire – 20 December
As a thank you to residents, the Mill holds a torchlit carol singing event round the bonfire in the mill grounds. Bring a lantern and your singing voices. 7:15 start.
On 16 July some 60 children laughed and played in the grounds of the mill. They were the charges of Magic Minders, the Worthing Childminding Association. Aged from one to five, the children were engaged in all kinds of games. The childminders brought picnics and enjoyed the beautiful summer morning.
1st and 2nd Findon Brownies paid a visit to the mill on 8th July. An earlier visit had to be abandoned because of pouring rain, but this time the sun shone for this enthusiastic group. Three volunteer guides showed them round the mill, explaining how flour was ground in former times, and the girls had a chance to grind some flour themselves on our mini grindstones – the quern.
On Saturday 22nd of June, local members from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (pictured) plus some guests enjoyed a fabulous tour of the Windmill. The sun was shining which made for some great photo opportunities before and after the tour. Organiser Charlie Allen said: “We were guided by two exceptionally experienced guides who had extensive knowledge of the mill and its restoration. Following the tour and many questions from our members, we enjoyed some beautiful homemade cake and a cup of tea in the sunshine. Thank you to all of the volunteers that made our visit so interesting and welcoming, and for the great conversations we all were part of.”
A group of millers from the Weald and Downland Living museum at Singleton visited High Salvington in July for a tour and information day. As experienced millers, they appreciated the differences between a water mill, as used at Singleton, and a wind-powered mill, which is designed rather like a sailing ship.
Earlier in the day, they had visited West Blatchington windmill in Hove, a more recent (1820s) smock mill. They enjoyed a delicious lunch in Worthing before proceeding to High Salvington. Founder trust members Bob Potts and Peter Casebow showed the millers the inner workings of the windmill. A spokesman said they had had a fascinating afternoon.
Other groups to visit our mill during the summer included Worthing Camera Club, a large group of year 1 pupils from The Vale school, and a group of “Grumpy Old Men” from Offington park Methodist Church.
If you belong to a group that might enjoy a visit to the windmill, get in touch with Roz Naylor-Smith on firstname.lastname@example.org
The craft fair this year was a great success with 25 stalls selling all manner of stitched, painted, carved, and woven items. The weather was kind and the stallholders reported very high interest in their craftwork. Visitor numbers were high, and besides the stalls, entertainment was provided by the Sompting Morris Dancers.
But did you know that the craft fair was started by members of the Windmill Trust back in 1989? Betty Potts, Shirley Ashton, Pat Casebow, Dorothy Edney and Yvonne Welch (all Wives of the Millers!) met for coffee once a week and made small items such as lavender bags, purses and scarves. At first, they took a stall at the fete to sell their wares, along with donated costume jewellery. Their first venture raised £75.70p for the mill. The separate craft fair held in September started later.
The picture shows the countryside turner, making chair legs and other turned items. He is known as a ‘bodger’. Shame that the meaning of the word has changed over time. He certainly doesn’t bodge his work!
Follow us on Facebook. Just look for High Salvington Windmill and “like” our page to see news about the mill and the planned events throughout the year.
And finally: a report from our Acting Chairman
The 2019 season has been a good one for High Salvington Windmill, with a number of successful events. National Mills Weekend open day was rebranded this year as “Diamond Day”, in May, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Worthing Borough Council’s purchase of the mill. Graham Carthew organised a very successful fete in July, Quentin and Ann English again organised a very well attended Classic Cars day in August. While Ian Fairclough and Andy Campbell masterminded a much-enjoyed Craft Fair in September. I would like to thank our volunteer organisers for their very hard work that makes these events possible, as well as all of those, too numerous to mention individually, without whom we would not be able to keep the “mills” and grounds so well maintained, and open the mill to the public, along with those few who work tirelessly, behind the scenes, administering the Mill Trust and managing its various functions. I’d like to single out Betty Potts for her initiative and indefatigable flour selling that successfully converted the output of our millers’ several grinding sessions into additional income for the mill. Thank you to all our members and volunteers.
A number of you have been maintaining vigilance over planning applications that could impact the mill. We regret that sometimes the needs of the mill and desires of newly-arrived neighbours may conflict. However, the windmill does need wind to operate and losing the ability to do this would be detrimental to what is, arguably, Worthing’s greatest treasure. My thanks to everyone who has commented on planning applications in defence of the mill’s needs.
For personal reasons, Major Tom Wye had to step down from the Board and, for the first time in its history, there are no Worthing Councillors on our board. I’d like to thank Tom for the contribution he made, as a most able Chairman, a popular mill Guide and his facilitation of interactions with the Council. Thanks also, to Rachel Trickey, who passed over the mantle of Membership Secretary to Captain Paul Minter RFA (Rtd) so she could focus more time on her studies. Paul has much experience with other organisations. We have welcomed Paul, Lucy Brooks and Greg Page to the board.
Looking forward, we will be introducing a new look website, courtesy of Stuart Marler, and I look forward to seeing you all at the Carols round the Bonfire on 20th December.
Newsletter editor Bob Brooks died earlier this year, shortly after completing the March newsletter. He had edited the newsletter for several years and was responsible for increasing its size and ferreting out interesting stories. The newsletter is now edited by his wife, Lucy, whom many of you know as a guide at the windmill.
We are also sad to report the death of Edna Godwin. In the early days of Sunday openings, Edna could usually be found on duty at the gate or selling souvenirs in the shed that served as a shop back then. In later years, when she was unable to help, she would offer parking space for helpers and visitors on busy days. She was always interested in what was going on and the progress of the restoration of the mill.
The Mill is researched and edited by Lucy Brooks, (01903 691945), email: email@example.com