History

The day the windmill stopped

A room as it was in 1870.

The mill stopped working in 1864 when the Lord of the Manor, the 5th Earl Spencer, announced his intention to enclose Wimbledon Common and build himself a new manor house on the site of the mill. Local opposition led to a legal battle lasting six years which was resolved by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act of 1871 which handed over the commons to the local community, together with the burden of maintenance and an annuity to be paid to the Spencer family.

The mill was operated at the time by the Marsh family, who also had mills in Kingston. They were persuaded to sell the Wimbledon mill, but insisted on removing the stones and most of the machinery so that the mill could not be run in competition with their other mills.

After it stopped working the mill was converted into living accommodation for six families. The original wooden upper storey was rebuilt using brick, and fireplaces and chimneys were added to give the building the appearance it has today. One room has been retained in the Museum to give an idea of the living conditions in 1870.

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