Cap Restoration 2017

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, will celebrate it's 100th 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 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 in Essex and they are in their 134th year of manufacturing. It is hoped they will attend this 100th anniversary of their old Crossley gas engine.

Tim Keenan, April 2020

Millwrights from IJP Owlsworth were with us on 21st and 2nndFebruary 2018 and the fully refurbished sweeps were returned from their workshops near Reading.

The first pair of sweeps was 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 remains on the ground until the job can be reprogrammed in better conditions. 

We are looking forward to the mill working again in the near future. The completed project will see the mill in the best condition that it has been in since its original restoration in the 1970s.

The cap was removed from the Windmill in December 2016 by IJP Millwrights of Henley-on-Thames in order to replace the rotten weatherbeam and carry out other essential repairs to the cap. These repairs are now well underway and the trust are looking forward to the restored cap being returned to pride of place at the top of the Windmill.

The following photos were taken in early March 2017 and show the current progress of the Cap restoration. 
Photo credits all Drapers Windmill Trust.

Millwrights from IJP Millwrights working on the Cap in March 2017



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