Millwright Willem Dijkstra has started to repair the tower, this includes the brick base forming the ground floor and the wooden smock tower with 4 floors of machinery.
Amazingly, Willem, with just one assistant, jacked up the whole smock tower – 4 floors, machinery and all! – and it is currently suspended 2 inches above the brick base.
A large temporary steel frame has been built to support the mill (see photo below), and the gap that has been created has meant that Willem has been able to remove the concrete cill that covered the top of the brickwork.
The cill dates from 1949 and was added by David Lewis and Philip Leonard, while being supervised by the millwright Hector Stone. The team at Upminster know this because David and Philip left their mark in more ways than one – by carving their names and the date into the concrete!
The gap will be filled with bricks to reflect the original design and the cill will be made of oak, to be in keeping with the original. This will require the smock tower to be suspended even higher.
Once these repairs have been completed, the timbers will be next – we’re looking forward to seeing more photos of the mill during the next stages of restoration, it’s not every day that we are offered a glimpse of the skeleton of a mill, or the resourceful skills of people like Willem!
**Images reproduced with the permission of the Friends of Upminster Windmill, who own the copyright.**