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Berkswell Windmill, West Midlands

Berkswell Windmill is on Windmill Lane (Balsall Common, West Midlands, CV7 7GY), just a modest walk or pleasant cycle ride from campus (5km west as the crow flies). OS Grid Reference SP249759 (see map by Streetmap.co.uk).

The mill was built in 1826 and used for making flour and animal feed. Later in its life it was adapted to run off an engine rather than by wind, and was actually used during World War II for horse feed (or at least, that's what I remember being told when I visited).

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Even the roof itself is interesting - its like an upside down boat, with overlapping planking. In the photos below you can see the endless chain winding mechanism used to turn the blades into the wind (the entire wooden summit of the tower rotates):

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The last photo above shows one of the centrifugal governors, a lovely bit of engineering to regulate the maximum speed - also used on stationary steam engines. From the inside you can really appreciate how marvelously complicated these machines are - and all made of hand crafted metal and wood. You can see how things have been adjusted with wedges, and its clear (even without a guide) that the mechanisms have undergone many revisions. I had a lovely time tracing how the power from the sails was routed and controlled.

The windmill as seen from the end of Hob Lane, on a rather misty day with some fine brown cows:

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The windmill is actually in someone's back garden. According to WindmillWorld.com, the windmill and the adjacent cottage was bought by Paul and Jeanette McGarry in 2004. They open the windmill to the public on the first Saturday of each month (except in winter). My second hand sources claim:

Open first Saturday of the month, 12 noon-6pm, May-Oct. Visits for groups can be organised. At other times by appointment. Please contact: Jeanette McGarry, tel: 01676 530085, email: jmcgarry (at) solihull.gov.uk

[Geograph Logo]

 

[Midland Wind and Water Mills Group Logo]

 

[Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings - Mills Section]