A Couris Thing

1967 , East Anglia (East Anglia)

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The history of windmills.

The history of windmills. Many, but not all, of the examples shown are in East Anglia. Some of the windmills were still in working order at the time the film was made; others had been restored or were undergoing restoration and some were disused. derelict windmills feature by way of comparison. The film opens with country shots setting the scene for the concept of wind; tress and rushes blowing in the breeze. There are interior and exterior shots of Pakenham Mill in Suffolk. The mechanical details of the sails and fantail as well as the wheels are shown in operation and are explained. Pakenham Mill still had wooden cogwheels (made of apple wood) not the iron working of a later era. The film offers a brief history of mills, illustrated by mediaeval manuscripts and artefacts. A pew end in All Saints Church, Thornham, the Walsoken Brass in St. Margaret's Church, Kings Lynn and a boss in the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral serve as evidence for mediaeval mills. The medieval reputation of the miller as crude, stupid and untrustworthy is recalled and illustrated by mediaeval manuscripts The obvious example, of Chaucer's miller in the Reeve's Tale, is not mentioned. The film features the oldest surviving post mill at Bourne in Cambridgeshire. This was built in 1636. There are interior and exterior scenes. At Drinkstone in Suffolk, the owner of Drinkstone Mill, Wilfred Clover, dresses the sails and explains how common sails (canvas covered) and spring or shutter sails work. He also explains the problems caused to the miller by sudden changes of wind speed. A lengthy sequence shows exterior shots of the mill working. At Rawby in Lincolnshire another restored Post Mill is shown and there are interior and exterior shots showing the mill working. This was restored by John Sass and the Rawby Post Mill Preservation Society with support from the Ministry of Works and Lincolnshire County Council.Shots of the boats on the River Yare and ruined mills on Yare Marshes introduce the Berney Arms Windmill. This was restored by Cecil Smithdale of Acle for the Ministry of Works. There are shots of the mill from the river and Cecil Smithdale talks about the mill. He recalls that, although built as a drainage mill, it was sufficiently powerful to make cement. Over views of the river from the mill he recounts estimates that the Mill once moved 1000 tons of water per hour. He has carried out tests that support these stories. There are interior shots of the mill and then evening shots over the river and sowing industrial craft.The Smock Mill in Wicken Fen, preserved by the National Trust, features. This has common sails and is shown in working order. Again, there are interior and exterior scenes. There are shots of Cranbrook Mill in Kent. In a sequence showing variations of sail there are shots of the eight sail mill at Heckington, of the six sail mill in Sutton Bridge and of the five sail mill in Alford, all in Lincolnshire. Frederick Banks explains how the Alford mill worked. At their premises in Alford, Jack and Bob Thompson, millwrights, explain their work. there are shots of a sail under manufacture and of a stone being dressed. These processes are explained by Jack Thompson. At Chesterton in Warwickshire, the film shows a windmill originally built in 1632 as an observatory or summer house for sir Edward Peto which is being restored by Derek Ogden for Warwickshire County Council. At Over in Cambridgeshire, Chris Wilson is restoring the tower mill.Th end of the film shows children of Whatfield Primary School visiting the Saxtead Green Windmill. The children describe the windmill, its workings and history. The end of the film recaps with shots of restored windmills and contrasts these with those lying derelict. At the end of the film a model is shown on fire to depict their vulnerability.

Featured Buildings

Alford Windmill, Lincolnshire; Over Mill, Cambridgeshire; Berney Arms Windmill; Pakenham Mill, Suffolk; Bourne Post Mill, Cambridgeshire; Rawby Post Mill, Lincolnshire; Chesterton Windmill, Warwickshire; Saxtead Green Mill, Suffolk; Cranbrook Mill, Kent; Sutton Bridge Windmill, Lincolnshire; Drinkstone Windmill, Suffolk; All Saints Church, Thornham, Norfolk; Heckington Windmill, Lincolnshire; The Smock Mill, Wicken, Cambridgeshire; St. Margaret's Church, Kings Lynn; Norfolk; Norwich Cathedral

Keywords

Millwrights; Restoration; Windmills

Other Places

Alford, Lincolnshire; Over, Cambridgeshire; Bourne, Cambridgeshire; Pakenham, Suffolk; Chesterton, Warwickshire; Rawby, Lincolnshire; Cranbrook, Kent; Drinkstone, Suffolk; Saxtead Green, Suffolk; Heckington, Lincolnshire; Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire; Kings Lynn, Norfolk ;Thornham, Norfolk; Norwich Wicken, Cambridgeshire

  • Producer : Malcolm Freegard

  • Director : Malcolm Freegard

  • Camera : Douglas Fisher

  • Script : Malcolm Freegard

  • Editor : Edward Roberts

  • Other : Reg Wilson

  • Other : Raymond James

  • Other : Paul Tilley

  • Production company : BBC

Manifestations

A Couris Thing

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    Modification Date
    13/10/2010
    Parts
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    693873
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    Has Sound
    N
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    Parts
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    Sound
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