Home

2020 Heritage Open Days

We have determined that we cannot open the mill for this event. The layout of the Steam Mill building is such that we cannot adhere to current Government guidelines. We have added some new pages to our website under the heading Heritage Days 2020 and plan to add more before the 18th September.

Important Covid-19 updates – 6th August 2020 

2020 AGM – The Committee has determined that it is not feasible to hold a Covid-19 Safe meeting under current Government guidelines. The meeting has been cancelled and the next AGM will be held next year.

Beeleigh Mill

Beeleigh mill was a large flour mill on the river Chelmer near Maldon, Essex. It had two water wheels driving 10 stones, to which was added a separate building which housed a steam-powered beam engine driving five millstones. The main building housing the water-powered wheels burnt down in a fire in 1875.

The site, which is Grade II*, now comprises the building housing the steam engine and the drive gearing for its millstones, the brick housing for one of the waterwheels, and the two adjacent brick-lined barge docks used for loading flour for shipment to London.

The steam mill is divided into 2 rooms, separated by a brick partition. The smaller north-western part is full height and contains the complete iron, double-acting Wentworth compound steam beam engine which was installed in 1845. Alongside is an ‘Elephant’ boiler with 2 safety valves and firebox. It is the only surviving example of this type of boiler in England, though it was more popular in France and Belgium.

The ground floor of the larger room contains the drive gears including a circular-plan iron hurst with an iron upright shaft with great spur wheel, which drives each of the five pairs of stones.

The upper floor has the emplacements for the stones. The drive shafts are in place, but the stones themselves are no longer there.

Although not currently visible, a hide-out was built during WW2 under the floor of the steam mill for an auxiliary unit to hide should the enemy invade. Access was from a trapdoor in the building, with an escape route which came out in the tail-race tunnel from the nearer mill-race. After the war, this hide-out was filled in by the army.