Union Mill Union Mill, Cranbrook
Registered charity no.1031879

Union Mill Renovations 2020/21

Stage 1 - Completed mid-November 2020

The previous repairs did not last as long as expected and Health and Safety concerns required further work urgently before winter storms arrived. This work is being carried out by Tim Whiting, and his team of millwrights from Saxmundham, Suffolk. They have recently completed the restoration of Saxtead Green Post Mill, near Framlingham in Suffolk, for English Heritage, and work on Chillenden Postmill in East Kent, for KCC.

The millwrights removed the shutters individually, gaining access to them by the traditional method of climbing on the sail frames.

Inspecting Shutters Removing shutters
Removing shutters
Left: Inspecting shutters
Right: Millwright Tim Whiting
Tim Whiting

The various bits of metal of the striking mechanism were then removed using their own cherry-picker, purchased brand new as the millwrights needed one with a better reach than the crane they already had. This was also used to slacken the bolts and straps that hold the sail frames to the stocks.


Spider Removed
Spider removed
Left: New Cherry-picker
Right: 3rd Sail-frame down
Sail-frame no.3 Down

The big crane was then brought in to lower the sail-frames onto the low loader. After unbolting the fantail, it was lowered and transferred to the low-loader.

Fantail Disconnecting Canister with Stubs
Canister with Stubs
Left: Disconnecting Fantail
Right: Sweepless in Cranbrook
Sweeps +Fantail gone

They were unable to pull the stocks from the central canister so had to saw them off and lower them down individually. The stumps still in the canister were then removed using a chainsaw and crowbar. The Sweeps, fantail, and stocks were taken back to the millwrights' workshop in Suffolk.

Photos: Andrew Riddell, Nick Vinall, Tony Singleton

You can watch a short video showing snippets of these stages by clicking on the image below:

Fantail on Lorry