Horsey Windpump; the story of a survivor

Black and white photo of Horsey Windpump in the 1920s

Horsey Windpump has had a dramatic history – it has survived floods, a lightning strike, a collapse, storms and gale force winds. Standing on the site of previous mills, Horsey Windpump is the youngest and one of the largest windpumps on the Norfolk Broads.

There has been a drainage mill on or in the vicinity of the site here since the early 1700s. The current mill is the third or fourth mill to exist here with the original having been built between 1730 and 1740. These have been referred to as the New Mill, the Great Mill and the Black Mill. Horsey Windpump was built in 1912 by local millwright Dan England and has endured a dramatic history since then. 

Timeline

1797

The Black Mill was built

The Black Mill was built between 1797 and 1826 and makes up the footprint of the current drainage mill. The cap was blown off in a gale in 1895 which was then replaced along with the sails by the millwrights Englands of Ludham in 1897. It is presumed that the condition of the tower caused the need for a new drainage mill to be built and about 12 courses of the old Black Mill can still be seen inside the current Horsey Windpump.

A brown sepia from circa 1895 photograph of a windmill stood with its sails pointing to the left with a dyke in front

1912

Horsey Windpump is built

Horsey Windpump was built in 1912 by millwright Dan England and is the youngest windpump in the Broads. She was completed just in time for the summer floods of August 1912.

a black and white image of Horsey Windpump in 1912 with a old car driving along an unmade road on the right of the image

1938

The flood of 1938

On the night of 12 February 1938 the landscape surround Horsey Windpump was flooded by the sea; some 7500 acres. The area was flooded for nearly five and a half months and during this time Horsey Windpump played a vital part in pumping the flood waters away. After the water had receeded the land had taken on a red rust colour and was unsuitable for agriculture for a few years afterwards.

black and white image of Horsey Windpump surrounded by flood water.