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Flitwick Windmill

The windmill which gave Windmill Road its name stood on the north-west side of the road part way up Common Farm Lane and on west side of the lane. Volume XIV by Bedfordshire Historical Record Society was published in 1931 and contains an article by J Steele Elliott on Bedfordshire windmills. Of the one in Flitwick he says: “The actual site of this windmill is not quite correctly shown on the Ordnance Map of 1902 ; it was set back 90 yards from Windmill Road and about twice that distance from the road leading to Steppingley. Only a slight indication of where the mill stood can now be seen, save that the brick have been re-used in the nearby stabling and one of the grindstones serves as its doorstep. This was a smock-mill, built by Thomas Course of Bedford; it was burnt down in October 1903, but had ceased to work for some little time previously. It was bricked up to the first floor only, and was of wood above. Robert Deacon was the last owner, he being miller there at least from 1894 to 1903; in 1877 it belonged to Richard Sharpe, whose son was killed by one of the sails whilst in revolution; it passed into the hands of Robert and Richard Goodman by 1885. I am informed by William Course that it was erected by his grandfather more than a century ago; the Course family were noted Bedfordshire millwrights for many generations”.

William Course’s estimate of the age of the mill seems a little exaggerated. The Bedfordshire Times of 28th February 1852 contains a sale notice for “all that new corn windmill situate near Dennel End aforesaid, fitted with one pair French and one pair Peake 4 feet stones and flour machine”.

Hugh Howes in his Bedfordshire County Council publication Bedfordshire Mills states: “A portable steam engine was kept in a corrugated iron shed near the mill and this was used to power the machinery during calm spells. In October 1881 it was advertised as a “windmill to let … in good working order”. Milling ceased shortly before the mill was burnt down on November 9th 1903. The base was demolished and the bricks used to build stables which still stand. Visible in their walls are black bricks, which had been used to face the base of the wall and were therefore tarred”.