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Last updated 26th March 2008
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These are the only six remaining windmills in the Merseyside and Wirral areas as far as I am aware. Their rarity and oddity always make them an arresting feature of the landscape. Once, of course, they were very common - even the centre of Liverpool boasted a considerable number. Curiously, many remained in use well into the era of steam and electrical power. They must have got something right!
The Old Mill, Great Crosby
This windmill, located at Great Crosby's highest point, dates from 1813.
Forest's Mill, Lydiate
Bidston Windmill, Bidston Hill
It is believed that Bidston Hill has sported a windmill since 1596. The sails of an earlier wooden peg mill broke loose in a gale in 1791 and the friction produced by the revolving wooden machinery caused a fire which destroyed the mill. This brick tower mill, built in 1800, replaced the earlier mill and was used to grind corn to flour until 1875. It could produce over 100 lb (50 kg) of flour every 3 to 5 minutes. The top can be rotated through 360 degrees so that the sails can be moved to follow the direction of the wind. There are two doors to allow millers safe exit avoiding walking into the rapidly turning sails that could reach up to 60 mph (100 kph), a safety feature that, alas, was not always effective. The windmill was restored in 1894 but is currently closed to the public.
The Old Mill, Gayton
This sandstone windmill in Gayton was built in around 1760 and was last recorded as being in use in the 1880s.
Willaston Windmill
There are records of a mill on this site on Mill Lane (of all places) back to 1321. Windmills were dangerous places and there are several recorded deaths in Cheshire as a result of being hit by the sails, including a Margaret Palin here at Willaston in 1774. The present structure, built of recycled materials from the previous mill, dates from 1800. At 80ft (24m) high, it was the largest of the Wirral windmills. It became disused following storm damage in 1930 and was restored and converted for residential purposes in 1958. One of the millstones now dominates the village sign on the Little Green.
The Gibbet Mill, Great Saughall
The Gibbet Mill takes its name from a murder that took place in the vicinity. In 1750, four Irish harvesters were travelling to Parkgate on their way back to Ireland, when three of them attacked the fourth and killed him. They robbed the body of money and clothes and deposited the corpse in a ditch. They made the mistake of spending some of their booty in a local inn, where they were caught. During the assize trial, one of the murderers gave evidence against his companions, who were subsequently hanged at Boughton. The two bodies were hung up in irons near the Two Mills on the heath as a warning to their countrymen, who had recently been causing trouble in that part of the country. The present windmill is probably of a slightly later date, possibly the 1770s, but it has acquired the sobriquet nonetheless. The mill continued to grind corn until 1926. After falling into ruin, it was restored and is now a private house.
Wind Turbines off Crosby Shore
A modern take on an old success story.