DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 28 June 2001

 

marvels
NO ONE living has ever seen this once prominent Folkestone windmill, behind which there is a remarkable story. For this fine photograph, dating from about 1885, was taken by a photographer named Clark, of 11 Bouverie Road East, not long before it was taken down.

Dawson's windmill at Millfield, where G & A Clark, nurserymen, of Dover and Folkestone, later ran a successful business, is pictured at a time when the miller was William Marsh. He advertised "Corn, coal, hay & straw stores," with a sign above the stables to the left of the white smock mill, and a further, smaller sign on the chimney stack of the end building, on the left.

The postcard picture here was shown to me by local history enthusiast Peter Hooper, of Dover Road, Folkestone. A similar photo exists, by Lambert Weston & Son Ltd, of Folkestone.

William Marsh took over from William Dawson in 1873 and ran a bakery in association with the mill. I read about it in William Coles Finch's book Watermills and Windmills, first published in 1933, with a hardback reprint in 1976.

Remarkably, this mill was taken down and moved bodily to Bethersden by George Jarvis for use in his timber sawing business, not many years after it had been renovated at a cost of 400, a large sum of money in those days. The repair work had involved extensive new weatherboarding and other timber renewal.

It was about 1886 that Jarvis paid a mere 30 for the mill, which had become redundant. He hired a traction engine and three trailers for the move, which was via the busy market town of Ashford. Heavier machinery was taken to the railway station for transport by rail.

The mill was rebuilt next to a smaller six-sweep mill already in use in his timber business at Bethersden.

This mill itself had already been moved from Sandgate by road, and before that came from Great Chart. But its original home had been in Pluckley!

The sweeps alone of the bigger Dawson’s mill mea-
sured 72 feet from tip to tip and the move was not without incident! Compensation had to be paid to at least one property owner for minor damage!

Once at Bethersden it was tarred and became the Black Mill. Discoveries made by Jarvis in dismantling Dawson's Mill suggest it may have been moved before and there is a suggestion it came from Penenden Heath! It is not clear when it finally disappeared.

Apparently Jarvis had been travelling by train to Dover one day when he spotted that new houses were being built around the windmill, and he speculated it would probably soon be put up for sale. A few weeks later he saw Dawson's mill being advertised.

Author Coles Finch acknowledges the help George Jarvis gave him with information about windmills.

Cheriton's old mill was another mill that was moved — to Lympne, again by farm carts, and Hythe mill was also found a new home at Ruckinge, but went most of the way by barge along the canal!

So obviously in years gone by, as millers came and went and business needs changed, it was not uncommon to move a mill, but today it seems an enormous task, even with modern plant hire equipment.

‘Danger to homes’

Coles Finch says there appear to have been a lot of surplus mills and George Jarvis, who moved the Millfield mill, acquired at least three in payment for his work of demolition, and he lists Aldington smock mill, Newchurch tower mill and High Halden post mill.

He pulled down or demolished so many mills he earned himself the reputation of being a "Mill smasher." But on the plus side he often either used the machinery and materials for repairing other mills, or rebuilt them for use as a power source for the timber merchants business he ran with his brother.

The first windmill he purchased was a small one, but with six sweeps, which had an interesting life.

Built at Pluckley, it was later transferred to Great Chart, where another six-sweep mill was later built, and later moved again - to Sandgate.
AVIATION enthusiast Roy Humphreys, of Hawkinge has been telling me of his discovery that a badly damaged Lancaster bomber of 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF crashed into a local hillside on September 17, 1944 as it tried to make for Hawkinge airfield while returning from Boulogne. It had been helping Canadian forces capture the big sites. This confirms the story of Mrs V Harris, of Hastings whose late husband believed a bomber crashed into hills at Peene close to "The Dolls House."
Dawson’s mill at Millfield Folkestone, well over a century ago. The picture was shown to me by local history fan Peter Hooper of Dover Road.
A young chap of 19, with a carpenter's and wheelwright’s business at Bethersden, he decided he could make use of the mill for sawing timber.

He cycled the 20 odd miles to Sandgate on an iron-tyred bicycle - called 'bone-shakers' with good reason)!) - to negotiate the purchase from Sandgate builder Mr Brissenden, who, it is believed, used it for sawing timber.

It was said the builder wanted to get rid of the mill because local worthies decided whirling sweeps of a windmill were a danger to the growing population of the little community.

Be that as it may it seems that as Sandgate expanded the windmill had become hemmed in by houses and was difficult to work, so it became redundant.

The price Jarvis paid was 20! And, after transport
by road by horse-drawn wagons, it was rebuilt close to Boorman's Stores in Bethersden. Later it was moved yet again, but only to the other side of the village.

George Jarvis was born in 1855 and one of his earliest memories, he used to say, was of carrying wheat to Rolvenden Mill when he was only nine. Three years before that he was at work leading horses and by seven years old assisted with ploughing the fields!

But to return to the Folkestone mill. William Marsh once seriously considered moving his business and re-erecting the windmill on top of a Martello Tower along the coast, where it would certainly have had the benefit of plenty of wind! Perhaps too much wind!

In their book Folkestone in Old Photographs, in 1990 Eamonn Rooney, Alan Taylor and Charles Whitney note that William Marsh went bankrupt in 1887.
 

Call for memorial plaque to honour the Volunteers

1 Ctm of a set of new decorative memorial windows in the nave were unveiled at Christ Church as part of a scheme to celcbratc the jubilee of the church. One was to the Revd W Powell, the first Vicar, Our writer Felix was urging that the local Volunteers who fought In the Boer War should be commemorated with a marble memorial plaque in the town hall. And he told how circulation of the Herald had been boosted by reports of the welcome given by the town to the soldiers home from fighting in South Africa. Never before, since the reporting of the loss of the sailing ship “Benvenue” and the Sandgate Landslip had there been such a boom, he said. Felix who had known Lord Radnor from his early days recalled the way the earl had taken part in the life of Folkestone over the years, from taking part in church services at the Fishermen’s Bethel to “rollicking performances” at the old Pleasure Gardens Theatre, The editor hit out at moves to slash the council rates to keep them at the same level as the previous year, pointing to the urgent improvements needed in the town.

 
Youths fined after bomb fragment hit house roof
’i CkCL’i WHEN locnl resident Charles New-XJJOXman, of London Road, Hythe complained to police about a chunk of metal which crashed on his roof after a mystery explosion an investigation revealed that three youths had gathered up flare powder on the ranges and made a small bomb which probably did more mischief than they expected. At the local magistrates court the two boys of 17 and an RAF cadet of 19 were each fined 2, The memory of 58 Old Boys of Harvey Grammar School was honoured by a memorial plaque unveiled in the school by the Mayor, Cllr John Moncrieff, an Old Harvealn. Hythe Town Council approved an 11,000 scheme for the demolition and ‘restoration’ of the Pavilion, at Marine Parade. A restaurant, kitchen, kiosks and various rooms and conveniences were included in the plans. Eight councillors were In favour and four against the plans, Involving demolition of the whole of the old pavilion. A large contingent of Folkestone Royal Naval Association members were among more than 1,000 members from three counties who marched to Canterbury Cathedral for a Jutland Rally service, where the ex-sailors heartily Joined in the singing of popular hymns.
 
Shower of rain sparked a fire in lorry load of lime!
*1 QOC FIREMEN were called to put out a fire JL/<CO which had been started by a shower of rain! Water got Into a load of quick lime which was under sheeting separating it from a consignment of timber on a lorry and the heat generated started a fire. The Incident was in Tolputt’s former timber yard in Lower Sandgate Road. Folkestone Bowls Club’s new Cumberland turf green was inaugurated by Mrs Wood, wife of Alderman R.G. Wood. She bowled a Jack followed by two woods on the fine new surface, and also offered the club a new trophy. The top class green was heralded as the start of a new era in local sport. The opening match on the green, which followed, saw a County Bowls Club side win by 126 points to the home:: club’s 119. The Royai Victoria Hospital was launching an appeal to raise 10,000 to build a new wing at the Royai Victoria Hospital. The Town Council spent some time debating a mischievous rumour being spread about that the foundations of the Leas Cliff Hall, built on 40 concrete pillars sunk into the ground, had “slipped twice” and were in danger of doing so again, which was untrue. Dog fish were swarming in the Channel and three tons a day

 
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Dover gunners spark scare with big splash off the port

f Q*7<5 THOUSANDS of people thronged the Fish JLSJ t O Market for the annual service for seafarers and the Blessing of the Fisheries ceremony from the quayside at the harbour, which incorporated the traditional procession from St Peter's, the fishermen's church on the cliff overlooking the port. A column of water 60 to 70ft high about six miles out in the Channel caused a bit of a stir; onlookers speculating it might have been caused by a crashing plane. But it proved to be gunners at Dover having a spot of gun practice! Festival of Britain trophies were due to be competed for by seven women and 13 men who were to take part in the Daily Mall International Cross-Channel Swim Race in August. Cecil Capon, for many years tailor In Stade Street, used to tell of an undertaker who had to remove some stone work from a vault at the church the day prior to a funeral and engaged a night watchman to keep an eye on it. But the watchman became sleepy and when all was quiet he crept into the vault for a snooze. But when the local constable Gauntlett spotted the open vault he decided to investigate, shining his torch inside. You can imagine his astonishment when the watchman woke up and began to get up - PC Gauntlett legged it as fast as he could down the hill, despite the watchman crying out “It’s all right Gauntlett, it's only me!”

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