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Tyne and Wear HER(3494): Gateshead, Windmill Hills, Windmill - Details

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Gateshead, Windmill Hills, Windmill




Wind Power Site


Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

Windmill, marked as Old on the 1st edition OS mapping, so out of use by 1856 {1}. Windmill Hills was one of the areas of medieval common land of Gateshead. From the Middle Ages Gateshead was one of the main centres of milling in County Durham. MacKenzie, in his "History of Durham" published in 1834 wrote that Windmill Hills was "studded with corn mills which, seen at a distance, impart a lively and picturesque effect to the landscape". Richardson's mid19th century engraving of the area shows ten mills in the area, seven on Windmill Hills. In style these were windmills of the post-mill variety, having timber bodies and sails set upon brick or stone roundhouses, some of which were later turned into dwellings. All of Gatesheads mills were closed by 1890 and a report in the Evening Chronicle in 1927 marks the demolition of the last of the old windmills on Windmill Hills {2}. Windmill Hills has long formed an important open space close to the western edge of Gateshead. Early usage is likely to have been agricultural but by the C17 its elevated situation was recognised as useful for wind powered milling. In the later 18th century and19th century the Windmill Hills were used by the local militia as an exercise ground and by the populace of the town for recreational purposes. In 1861 it became Gateshead's first public park {3}. The borough-holders and freemen owned a mill on Windmill Hills known as the Borough Mill, which they leased out to a tenant. In 1837 it was advertised as "a large brick mill, situate on the Windmill Hills, Gateshead. There is a dressing mill, two pairs of large French stones, a pair of Blue stones, two dressing cylinders and a barley mill, ready for use; together with a neat garden, a small close of grass, large granary, dwelling house, stable, spacious yard and other appurtenances". The mill was not let and so was demolished and replaced by housing. The last mill on Windmill Hills was demolished in 1927 as recorded in the Newcastle Chronicle of 31 July 1927.




<< HER 3494 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 2 I. Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p 58 W. Muncaster, Tyne and Wear Museums, 2000, Windmill Hills Town Park, An Archaeological Evaluation

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