• Title
    The Helen M. Wilson windmill collection
  • Reference
  • Production date
    1837 - 1959
  • Creator
    • Wilson, Helen MaryBiography
  • Scope and Content
    The collection comprises 1 box and 1 ring binder of postcards, photographs and a number of miscellaneous items relating to the history and operation of windmills, arranged in 9 series. Series 1 comprises postcards pertaining to Kent (110 items), series 2 of postcards pertaining to Sussex (51 items), and series 3 of postcards depicting windmills in other counties in England (71 items). Series 4 comprises photographs pertaining to Kent (44 items), series 5 of photographs pertaining to Sussex (72 items), and series 6 of photographs depicting windmills in other counties of England (71 items). Series 7 comprises photographs and postcards depicting windmills abroad (9 items) and series 8 of photographs and postcards of Union Mill, Cranbrook, Kent (40 items). The final series comprises miscellaneous items, including photographs and negatives showing mills in England and the Netherlands, the Russell family, and model windmills built by Mr Tarrant. Additionally, there are a number of advertisements and a sales catalogue for mill furnishings, 2 newspaper cuttings (including a review of Rex Wailes ‘The English Windmill’ 1954), a pamphlet issued by the Society of the Protection of Ancient Buildings relating to the preservation of Outwood Mills, Surrey [undated] and an etching of a windmill on Oulton Broads,Suffolk, taken from Pall Mall Magazine, as well as a pencil sketch of the post mill at Biddenden, Kent, by Philip Russell, uncle to Helen Wilson. There is, additionally, a copy typescript, ‘The Wittersham Post Mills, Kent, their Owners and Millers’ by J. S. P. Buckland (2004) which has been shelved with the finding aid in our reading room at Wroughton.
  • Extent
    0.3 m (1 box and 1 ring binder)
  • Language
  • Archival history
    Helen Mary Wilson, née West, was born in 1914 in Missouri, USA, but lived in Mill House, Cranbrook, Kent, as a child, adjacent to the Union Mill windmill which was owned and operated by her family, the Russells, between 1832 and 1958. Her uncle, John Russell, was the last of the family to operate the mill before its sale to Kent County Council in 1958, and he received an award from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1935 for his maintenance of the windmill. Photographs of Union Mill form a substantial part of the collection begun by Helen’s mother Gwendolen West, née Russell, and continued by Helen. It was John Russell to whom Rex Wailes dedicated his book ‘The English Windmill’ in 1954, Wailes and Russell having previously co-authored an article, ‘Windmills in Kent’, for the ‘Transactions of the Newcomen Society’ (volume 29) in 1953. Helen Wilson died in 1998 and is buried at Cranbrook. Archival History This collection was begun by Helen Wilson’s mother Gwendolen West, née Russell, and continued by Helen.
  • Level of description
  • Repository name
    Science Museum, London
  • Conditions governing access
    Open Access
  • Conditions governing Reproduction
    Copies may be supplied in accordance with current copyright legislation and Science Museum Group terms and conditions
  • External document
  • Related items
  • Appraisal
    No appraisal of this collection has been undertaken.
  • System of arrangement
    The items are grouped in 9 series, numbered alpha numerically, according to subject areas. Original numbering sequences, where evident, were maintained in the order of the files. Where no such sequences were evident, the order was decided by the archivist.