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The country celebrates its many and varied windmill and water mill sites during the NATIONAL MILLS WEEKEND in May and, as part of that, Drapers Windmill will have an open weekend and you're very welcome to attend our marvellous mill on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.  We look forward to seeing you.  See below for more information.

Nationally, you can find out more about this special weekend here: https://www.spab.org.uk/mills/NMW

 

 

You can really help support the mill by joining the local Thanet Lotto where you can win up to £25,000!  Click here to join!

 

 

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The Drapers Mill team publish an occasional newsletter containing the latest news, event updates and interesting facts.  If you would like to have a copy emailed to you, then do please subscribe via this link and add your contact details.  We look forward to hearing from you!

In a shed at the rear of the windmill sits our 1920 Crossley gas engine, installed to enable the mill to operate without the need for wind. It celebrates its 104th birthday this year.

The Crossley Brothers gas engine, a Type GE117, was originally outshopped from their Openshaw works, in Manchester on 24 April 1920. An order was originally received from the well-known hairbrush manufacturer, Messrs Mason Pearson Brothers, whose works were at Royal Victor Place in Old Ford, East London.

It is rated at 28hp/31bhp and fitted with a 6ft 6in flywheel. The engine has an all-up weight of 4 tons, engine erectors from Crossley's London showrooms and workshops installed the engine into the specially prepared engine room. It was connected to the local town's gas supply. This engine then drove the factory shafting to the woodworking machinery on the belt. Over the years, it was fitted with two sets of cylinder liners and pistons and a set of new piston rings in the early 1960s.

Sometime later, it was removed from the works and put into store in London. In 1997 it was acquired by the Drapers Windmill Trust and installed by experts into the engine room, where today it can be seen running sweetly and is greatly admired.

It should be noted that Mason Pearson are still trading today, manufacturing high-quality hairbrushes as well as other hair products, with a shop in Old Bond Street, London, as well as other outlets worldwide. Their factory today is in Rainham, Essex, and they are in their 138th year of manufacturing.  They attended the 100th anniversary of their old Crossley gas engine.

Tim Keenan, April 2020

The trust is very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their kind support for our windmill in 2018.  They have enabled us, amongst other things, to commission a film about the windmill and its history, so that those who are less able to climb the stairs can still enjoy the windmill to its full capacity.

Millwrights from IJP Owlsworth were with us on 21st and 22nd February, 2018, and the fully refurbished sweeps were returned from their workshops near Reading.

The first pair of sweeps were fitted successfully on Wednesday morning, but despite heroic efforts by the team, rising wind speeds and failing daylight prevented the fitting of the second pair. The wind was much stronger on Thursday and so the work had to be halted and the second pair were fitted later. 

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