By the 1750s an increase in the population of Britain had led to a subsequently higher demand for cereal products. By 1782 the situation led to an advert being placed to offer the opportunity to build a windmill at Castle Garth, on top of the castle keep. The offer was not taken up.
Chimney Windmill, on Claremont Road in Newcastle, stands on a site that had been occupied by a windmill since at least 1649 but in 1782 a new mill
was designed by John Smeaton. He had spent some time testing out sail designs, and he settled on a 5 sail specification for Chimney Mill.
The mill was smock mill built on top of a brick building, it had an ogee shaped cap, an unusual design in the north east. The main central drive shaft passed down through this building where it drove two pairs of millstones on the lower floor. Other machinery on the top floor was driven from a crown gear at this level.
The mill was built for the purpose of the “manufacturing of wheat into flour for the London and any other markets”. Originally commissioned by William Smith he went bankrupt, though had built up a large business by this time. The mill was worked until the 1890s, the sails were removed in the 1920s and the cap removed in the 1950s.
After it fell out of use as a mill the building became the club house for Newcastle City Golf Club and later the Newcastle United Golf Club. More recently the building has been used as offices and a design studio.
This article was compiled by Duncan Hutt from notes sent by Freda Booth on the mill. Reference has also been made to:
- Ayris, I. & Linsley, S. 1994. A guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne & Wear. Tyne & wear Specialist Conservation team, pp84.
- Taylor, Olive, Bygone Spittal Tongues (unknown date or publisher)
- Evening Chronicle, June 1 2005, p16
From: Northumbrian Mills No 35 (July 2005)