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Since the 13th century, the windmill has played an important role in the agricultural landscape of the county and apart from East Anglia and Lincoln, Kent probably had more working windmills than any other county.
The area around Rochester had the most mills and at it's peak, which was around 1870, there were over 40 working windmills. However, from this point on, there was a gradual decline and by 1883, there were 29 mills and by 1930 only one survived.
The windmiller's trade across Kent continued to decline and by 1930, there were only 14 mills working under sail, with a handful more using mechanical power. Since the 1960's many of the mills have been rescued and restored and are in the hands of Kent County Council, Windmills Trusts or some are privately owned.
In 1930, a national survey was undertaken by The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and this survey was published in a series of books, entitled "English Windmills". Kent's survey featured in Volume One and below is the map of Kent as featured in the survey.
The map shows the location of over 65 windmills in Kent, although some of these were already in a derelict state, or the buildings were being used for other purposes.
The survey gave a brief description of the mill and many had accompanying photographs.
A smock mill on a brickbase. By 1930 the sails and fan had gone although the building was reported as being in good condition.
During the 20th century it had been converted to a residence and the sails and fan have been returned to the building.
Chillenden Mill is a post and open trestle mill, built around 1868. It has four single-shuttered sails and a tailpole resting on a wheel. It was never fitted with a fantail and would have been turned manually with its long tail pole.
Only one of four post mills and the last of this design to be built. In 1927, it had two sails renewed. It remained in use until 1949. It was acquired by Kent County Council in 1958 and is now a Grade II listed building and looked after by the Chillenden Mill Group.
Built in 1814 by Humphreys, one of the county's millwrights, for Henry Dobell, this large octagonal smock mill stands on a three-storied brick base with a gallery 10 metres from the ground. Nearly 22 metres high, it has four double-shuttered patent sails, a fan, seven pairs of stones, and by 1930 it also had a gas engine.
The mill was bought by the Russell family in 1832 and became known as Russell Union Mill. In 1930 it was worked all year round, grinding flour and pig grist, but in spite of its good trade, the owner said at the time, that when all expenses were paid he only made a profit of a few shillings a year. This was a typical example of the economic state of the windmill trade at this time.
Kent County Council acquired the mill in 1961 and it is still in full working order and looked after by the Cranbrook Windmill Association.
Draper's Mill or Old Mill is a Grade II listed Smock mill in Margate, Kent, England that was built circa 1847. Draper's mill was built circa 1847 by John Holman, the Canterbury millwright, replacing an earlier mill that had previously been moved here from Nayland Point. It is the sole survivor of a group of three windmills. A mill was marked on Robert Morden's map of 1695, Harris's map of 1719 and the 1819-43 Ordnance Survey (OS) map. The 1858-72 OS map shows three mills. The 1903-10 OS map shows two mills. The mill worked by wind until 1916, and by a 20 horsepower (15 kW) gas engine until the late 1930s. The sails and fantail were removed in 1927. The mill was threatened with demolition in 1965, but the Draper's Mill Trust was formed to preserve the mill, and in 1968 the Kent Education Committee acquired the mill, which was restored at a cost of over £2,000. The fantail was replaced in 1970, and one pair of sails were erected in December 1971. The new stage that had been prepared for fitting on Black Mill, Barham was donated to Draper's mill, and adapted to fit by Vincent Pargeter. The second pair of sails were fitted in the autumn of 1974.