Next Dimension: Press’s Mill

pressmill2Today’s leg of this ever-growing tour is a little different to what has come before. We’ve gone back in time to nineteenth century Yarmouth for this one, and gravitated straight toward this gargantuan windmill dominating the view.

Known as ‘The High Mill’, or more specifically Press’s Mill after the long-standing owners of the site, this giant’s eleven floors soared some one-hundred-and-twenty feet into the Yarmouth sky – that’s almost twice the size of Berney Arms Mill, which boasts the ‘High Mill’ moniker today – and some accounts suggest another ten or twenty feet on top of that. Indeed, these anecdotal measurements have caused some to label the mill the tallest ever built in Norfolk, England, even the entire world. Perhaps there was truth in one or more of these claims upon its completion in 1812 – nobody knows for sure, but such accolades are a pleasing thought!

pressmill32Another stand-out feature of the mill is just what tops the enormous ensemble; the cap is not in the locally traditional ‘boat’ form but the fancier ogee, with, curiously, a large cabin complete with weather vane. Taking advantage of its loftiness, it was apparently intended to double up as a lighthouse, but this was a plan hastily dropped due to the very real risk of fire.

pressmill1The High Mill worked virtually flat out grinding corn until 1894, when it was brought to a grinding halt with a lightning strike. It never worked again – sold for just £100 a decade later, the mill was demolished soon after. The sails were fitted to another windmill, while the hundreds of thousands of bricks were also reused – they built a whole row of houses in the mill’s footprint. Some of the innards and the weather vane were kept for preservation, but didn’t survive the Second World War.

To think what might have been were it not for that strike of lightning – might it still be standing today? Along with the various others which bit the dust in similar fashion, it’s quite a shame to ponder that it might, and to think of the delight its presence could inject into the skyline. I can’t help but feel a little hard done by here, as it would have been right on my doorstep, and I’d doubtless have been ever enchanted by the thing – indeed, I always used to wonder why there was a pub near the site called The Windmill. It’s clear now!

pressmill4
With very few reference images – and even those that do exist being of, obviously, not the best quality – this was something of an improvisation. I’m sure there are plenty of inaccuracies, but it’s getting there, and if nothing else it’s to scale compared to the (very basic) terraced housing, at almost six times higher. In my attempts to capture the atmosphere of the time and vicinity, I do wonder if I should perhaps not have choked the mill with other buildings quite so much –  looking back, most of the photos seem to suggest a more spacious immediate area and this might have been beneficial for emphasising the sheer enormity of the building. Of course, this could be down to my now-trademark lack of camera skill. Hmm! Hey ho – still a fun history lesson, even if I’ve once again left myself miffed by its demise!

With this somewhat special edition, I might (he says might) give the windmill tour a break for a little while and move onto other charming buildings. We’ll have to see what takes my fancy!

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23 comments
  1. I love all your buildings and have enjoyed the windmills! Looking forward to the other things you might try. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Teresa! So glad others are enjoying it. It’s been really nice to revisit a childhood obsession in a new way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Rebecca! This would definitely be my favourite, were it still standing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks Michael, it’s great to know others are enjoying them. Have no fear – I’m sure I’ll come back to them soon enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill Fufkin said:

    What a rich history, made bracingly fascinating by your commentary, might I add…I almost miss this outstanding windmill myself! But no, before you leap in…I’m not quite that old! B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Ha ha – thanks, Bill! I’m saying nothing! 😉

      Like

    • Jacob said:

      Ha ha! As for the tardiness, I will let you off; I know you’re submerged in about ten million watercolours! I think I’d need my armbands for such a duty! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        I can’t swim very well is the story! I was the kid at school who always had to wear the armbands for fear of drowning.

        Like

  3. Ok, so i know by now that you have ways of making things look 3D/ real, but i’m still convinced the first one is a photo. Is it??

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow, how lovely it looks. Some great old photatoes ( or photatos? I’m not sure now!) there. And shit yeah, that’s a bigger structure than i’d realised. Sad that it’s not there anymore :/ I need to get rich and build myself a windmill house 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Ha – I’ve always said that, if I got rich, I’d build myself a windmill to live in. Wouldn’t it be magical? Either that or I’d just buy Weybourne. I’ve been longing for that one since I was a nipper.

        Sigh. It’s so perfect.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’d be amazing!
        I had to google Weybourne, but oh, what a pretty place it seems. I’m assuming it’s the Weybourne Mill you’d choose for your dream home, then? It’d make a nice abode, i reckon.
        Note to self: Time to get rich!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Definitely the mill! It’s a lovely, isolated place but with the sea right next door. Though I feel it may be a private residence already, and so, in thinking this through so thoroughly, I’m doubtful that I could just barge in and take ownership. Perhaps I should build a clone right next door? 😉 Or hey, resurrect this Press’s monster – a foot higher than the original! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a plan. Build it RIGHT next door. Then, they’ll get jealous, and build an even bigger one next to THAT. So you’ll have to out do them. The one-upmanship will continue, and eventually, there’ll be a whole street full of ridiculously gigantic windmill houses. It will be quite the tourist attraction 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Hahaha! Knowing me, I would totally go in for one-upmanship. It’d end with a windmill so big it consumes the earth, surely!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You might need to create an artistic representation of that! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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