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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The Walthamstow Windmill
The site of Walthamstow Windmill, demolished in the early 1800's
Location: Oak Hill Gardens, Walthamstow
Description: Over 200 years ago this was a clearing in the forest and a high point so that everyone could see the windmill erected in 1676 when the lord of the manor of Walthamstow Toni, William Maynard, granted a building lease to John Hawkes, millwright of Whitechapel.
All the rage before the industrial revolution, access to windmills was vital for locals to grind their produce to make flour for bread a staple part of their diet and the miller would take a percentage.
Although there is very little surviving evidence about the mill, the Walthamstow Parish Registers record the burial of a 'John Grimston, Miller' in 1684 and the burial of the 'Old Miller' two years later.
Other historical records show one of the windmill's later occupants, John Hanes, was brought before the Walthamstow Toni Manor courts in 1745, 1746 and 1747 for brewing beer without a licence.
It is thought the mill stopped producing flour at this time because local people would have used the water mills of the River Lea to the north and south of Walthamstow.
The mill-house, known as Mill Cottage, survived until 1890 and its most famous occupant was noted botanist and philanthropist Edward Forster junior, who lived at the cottage between 1826 and 1838.