Series SPAB-BAS - Mill files

"Ipswich Tide Mill 1958" Post mill, Avon Dassett Bosmere Mill Needham Market Suffolk Bretherton Lancs Grove's Mill Coleshill Bucks Vol 1: Restoration 1949 - 1957 Vol 2: Restoration 1958 Vol 3: Restoration 1959 Vol 4: Restoration 1960 Vol 5: Restoration 1961 - 1977 Vol 6: Finances 1957 - 1960 Vol 7: Appeal 1954 Vol 8: Finances 1960 - 1974 Vol 9: Finances 1954 - 1958 Gate Bridge Mill Galphay Yorks Sherfield English  Hants Trader Mill Sibsey Lincs (mills)  Hertfordshire "The Sol", Hamper Mill, Watford "The Sol", Hamper Mill, Watford, with slats open
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Reference code



Mill files


  • 1909-2002 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

71 boxes

Name of creator


Administrative history

In 1929, following an article in the Daily Mail about Britain's disappearing windmills, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) launched a campaign to survey and protect England's windmills. The work was led by pioneering mill expert Rex Wailes, and soon became separate Windmill Section of the SPAB. In 1946 this became the Wind and Watermill Section, later referred to simply as the Mills Section. It still continues working to save England's historic mills today.


Archival history

The files were kept by the Mills Section from its creation c 1929 onwards. A list of the complete SPAB archive including the Mills Section files was made in 1980 by Philppa Bassett and can be found on the National Archives website. At this time the files were kept at the Society's headquarters in Great Ormond Street. The Society later moved to Spital Square and the files were stored along with the main society archive in the basement.

When the rest of the Mills Section collection was transferred to the Mills Archive in 2004 these files were retained in the basement at Spital Square. They were however listed on the Mills Archive catalogue under the title 'Basement Archive'. The files were numbered at this time in the order found in the SPAB basement, which reflected the alphabetical ordering in the 1980 list but with some disruption. Returned to their original alphabetical ordering but retaining their current numbering system, the files would be in this order: 001 to 096; 397-477; 097-188; 478-560; 189-273; 561-621; 274-334; 622-657; 335-394; 658-717 (718-804 fall outside the main sequence). There are also odd files which are out of alphabetical order.

In October 2015 the files were transferred to the Mills Archive. The minutes of the Section and certain other files have been retained at Spital Square.

Files 402-422 and 797-799 contained parts of the wind and watermill surveys and have been removed to be recombined with the rest of those surveys (SPAB-WIS and SPAB-WAS). Files 423-424 and 753-760 contained press cuttings which have been added to the press cuttings collection. Other missing numbers relate to files retained by the SPAB or not found when transferred to the Mills Archive.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Scope and content

Correspondence, reports, notes, cuttings and photographs relating to wind and watermills, the majority filed by mill or by county. The titles used in the catalogue are taken from the envelopes in which the files are stored, with extra information not written on the envelope in brackets.

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This material may be consulted free of charge at the Mills Archive; please email to arrange an appointment.

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Archivist's note

Catalogued by Luke Bonwick when still at Spital Square. Catalogue checked and updated by Nathanael Hodge on transfer to the Mills Archive, October 2015.

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