We have a note from Rob who is 'currently in the process of completing a fairly hefty tome on the > windmills of SE London and NW Kent, concentrating on sites from the old London border of Kent to the Darent valley.'
He is asking GIHS if we can help with the following
a windmill attached to a water-powered paper mill, described as 'near the East India Docks in Deptford', insured by a gentleman called Josiah Johannott (apparently a papermaker from Switzerland) in > 1751. Mr Johannot was declared bankrupt shortly afterwards and the > mills were advertised for sale in the London Gazette in 1754
"To be Sold to the highest bidder, pursuant to an Order of the Lord High Chancellor in a Commission of Bankrupt awarded against Josias Johannot, late of Deptford, Paper Maker, on 25 February inst. at the Guildhall, London.
A leasehold estate of which there are ninety years to come from Christmas last, consisting of a water-mill, and Windmill, used for the making of Paper; a dwelling house, garden and wharf, two small tenements and Yards adjoining to the Mill, the whole containing, in Front next the River Thames, 200 feet or thereabouts, adjoining to Wells's Dock. Also meadow land adjoining, situate at Deptford. Likewise the Utensils in and about the said Mills for making of Paper."
Rob says he cannot place this mill at all, and it appears to be unrecognised in historical research. A wind powered paper mill in the UK is very rare, and I have no records for a watermill either; in fact this could be a tide paper mill, again a first. Any thoughts? My guess is that it was somewhere in the Victualling Yard, but I am baffled.
Victualling Yard mills. I have a succession of windmills in the Victualling Yard at the end of the now gone Windmill Lane. The government appear to spend enormous amount of money on these, in order to supply ships biscuits to the fleet. They seem to be burned down or sold off at some regularity. The last one I have is mentioned in a House of Commons exchange as built in 1826 at the cost of £40,000!!, which is an astonishing amount to spend on a windmill! To compound this, none of the Victualling yard windmills are marked on maps.
I am baffled by a lovely watercolour of Deptford Theatre with pub adjoining dated 1840, showing a white smock mill apparently on the other side of the Creek in the corner. All the features of this watercolour are well drawn and apparently accurate, but I have no windmill recorded in this spot. It looks like it is attached to a factory, perhaps the soap factory(?), or the waterworks, so perhaps was used for another function.
A windmill called 'Clayton Mill', marked on Rocques map is still a mystery...