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Michael Yates has an extensive collection of postcards depicting windmills and watermills.

This page features a selection of Michael's Sussex postcards.

Sussex Mills Group logo


This undated postcard of Argos Hill Mill is one of many high quality topographical postcards published under the logo "The Wells Series" by H. H. Camburn of Tunbridge Wells.

The logo size indicates a pre 1927 date for the photograph and the card was produced for A. Fenner, High Street, Mayfield.

  Argos Hill - From the Michael Yates Collection

The mill is in working condition and the openness of the countryside and the lack of trees and buildings is in contrast to the scene today.

West Chiltington - From the Michael Yates Collection  


West Chiltington windmill is shown on this Douglas Miller (of Haywards Heath) postcard that was posted in 1917.

In this photograph, the mill is shown at work as the four sweeps are out of focus as a result of their movement.

A loaded cart with its horses can be seen in the yard although, perhaps atypically, there is no sign of the miller.

This photograph was also reproduced in "The Windmills of Sussex" by Martin Brunnarius.


The well-known postcard publisher, Judges of Hastings, has produced many topographical cards over their long existence.

There are a number that show wind and water mills including this one of Playden post mill near Rye.

A typical East Sussex mill covered with metal sheet, it was probably in working order when this photograph was taken and its elliptical spring shuttered sweeps are in good condition.

Possible date of the photograph c.1915.

  Playden - From the Michael Yates Collection


Douglas Miller of Haywards Heath published excellent topographical cards of Sussex including several depicting mills.

This shows the watermill at Horsted Keynes and is postmarked 1911. The mill is still standing in a preserved condition but now has a pulley wheel for an auxiliary drive just above the window to the left of the stone floor door.

  Horsted Keynes - From the Michael Yates Collection

The overshot waterwheel is just visible in this photograph.


The watermill at High Hurstwood, shown on this photographic card published in c.1910 by A. H. Homewood of Burgess Hill, appears to be standing in a very remote situation and the mill with its overshot waterwheel is in good condition.

  High Hurstwood - From the Michael Yates Collection

In 1997, Stidder and Smith ("Watermills of Sussex", Vol 1) said most of the machinery remained in the building but that some preservation work was required.


Although many postcards have their publisher's name on them, quite often high quality photographic postcards are found without a publisher's name.

Here not only is this missing but also the mill is unnamed. Careful study of the card, posted at Lewes in 1935, suggests that it shows Michelham Priory watermill with its bucketed breastshot wheel.


Michelham Priory - From the Michael Yates Collection

The style of printing indicates an earlier date than 1935 for the photograph.

Any additional information would be welcomed.


Cement Mill, Arundel - From the Michael Yates Collection


There are several photographs of this unusual Sussex windmill, built in 1864, which was used to grind material dredged from the River Arun for cement manufacture.

The publication "The Windmills of England" by R. de Little has reproductions of two of these and there is also a tinted postcard printed in about 1905.

The photograph reproduced here is probably the best of this mill and is taken from a print of unknown source that is dated 9 May 1891. It shows a rendered tower, two pairs of common sweeps, a large 8 bladed fantail and an unusual cap. The mill stands on the banks of the Arun and although there still appears to be canvas on the sweeps, there is little sign of any activity around her. There is no trace of the mill today.


This photograph, taken from a pre 1905 postcard, shows the windmill on the seashore at Bognor. A black tarred tower mill with a wagon cap and common sweeps, she was winded by a rope and Y wheel at the rear of the cap.


Black Mill, Bognor - From the Michael Yates Collection

She was probably disused at the time the photograph was taken as there is no canvas on the sweeps. By 1899, most of the cap was missing as were the sail frames. Again there is no trace of this mill today.


Ringmer Post Mill - From the Michael Yates Collection


Unfortunately the photographer who took and published this picture had little sense of composition as he cut the sweeps and lost part of the roundhouse as well as positioning the mill well to one side of the card.

It is however a high quality photograph and shows the sweeps, buck, tailpole and ladder in great detail.

The double shuttered sweeps with half leading boards are operated by elliptical springs and there are 8 bays with 3 shutters per bay. The talthur can be seen on the tailpole and the roundhouse is of brick with a wooden roof. This postcard was published before 1905 and at that time the mill seems to be in excellent condition.

She ceased work in 1921 and collapsed in 1925. The sub-structure was left in place as a memorial to the mill.       Further information on Ringmer Post Mill.


One of the several post mills that stood around the outskirts of Lewes, Malling Mill was a superb white painted mill on a two storey roundhouse. This photograph, taken on a snowy winter's day, evokes the loneliness of the mill and clearly shows her double shuttered patent sweeps and striking wheel.


Malling Post Mill - From the Michael Yates Collection


The long tailpole and its talthur are clearly visible. The mill is in full working order although there is apparently some damage to the upper sweep. This postcard was postally used on 10 October 1908, just a month after Malling Mill was burnt down (8.9.1908) although the message on the back makes no reference to this event.

Telham Post Mill - From the Michael Yates Collection


This photograph is not taken from a postcard but was taken by me in September 1955 on a day trip to Hastings with my parents.

The mill, which for many years had been used to advertise "Ye Olde Tea Room" in Telham, was suffering the ravages of time with parts of her metal sheeting missing and some damage to the weatherboarding.

She suffered a partial collapse in 1961 and was demolished in 1962.


This pre 1910 postcard, showing Horsebridge steam / water mill at work, has several interesting features in it.

Horsebridge Mill - From the Michael Yates Collection


Horsebridge Mill - From the Michael Yates Collection

There are two horse wagons, one covered in the left foreground and a well built haystack in the right foreground. A millstone (peak?) is propped up under the central tree and behind this is a steam wagon that is loading or unloading.

Standing in the first floor doorway of the mill is a workman who is assisting with this operation.

This postcard shows Horsebridge Mill after it was rebuilt as a large roller mill following a serious fire that either occurred in January 1908 (Stidder and Smith, "Watermills of Sussex" Vol. 1) or on 2 January 1910 (according to a postcard of the fire in my collection). The mill continued working until August 1969.

Text by Michael Yates

Website Design : Simon Potter
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