The Black Giant of Elston

Photo:The Black Giant as a working mill

The Black Giant as a working mill

Picture the Past

Photo:During restoration by Mike Lawrence, 1978

During restoration by Mike Lawrence, 1978

Photo:Elston Mill today

Elston Mill today

Why isn't it black?

Elston Windmill

Extract from The Stamford Mercury of 2nd November, 1844

"On Friday last some men were raising the sails of a new mill at Elston when a prop which supported them gave way and the sails fell with a tremendous crash on a youth about fourteen years of age, literally burying his head in the earth, breaking his collar bone and otherwise seriously injuring him.  There is no hope of his recovery".

Such was the violent birth of 'The Black Giant of Elston' - Elston Mill.

"...His head was literally buried in the earth... There is no hope of his recovery"

The mill was built in 1844 by Joseph Lee and was passed on through four generations of the same family until 1901 when it was sold to Colonel Darwin of Elston Hall.

Little is known beyond that date until William Gash bought the mill and adjoining house in 1919 from John Laughton.

Thereafter the story of the mill is linked to that of William Gash & Sons and the Elston Motor Company's 'bus services around the area.

In 1978 Pevsner (p.122) noted that it was being converted into a dwelling

At the time of writing (2014) the mill is currently up for sale.  So if you fancy a rather unusual-shaped home and a lot of exercise, then now's your chance: 3 bedrooms, lots of stairs, 1 Victorian teenage ghost, £525k).

This page was added by Website Administrator on 22/07/2013.
Comments about this page

I was interested to read these notes on the windmill at Elston and I think I can add a few more details. In the book 'Windmills of Nottinghamshire' (1995) by Tony Shaw it says that the mill remained in the Lee family until 1901 when Edward Lee sold it to Colonel Darwin of Elston Hall. Col. Darwin employed John Jasper Laughton to do the milling. Then William Gash bought it in 1919, but it would have been from Col. Darwin, not John Laughton. Gashs moved out in 1953 (moving their bus business to Bowbridge Road, Newark) and in 1969 (says Tony Shaw) the mill passed to W.S. Smith. Then in 1977 the mill was sold again to Mike Lawrence who converted it to a dwelling house, which it still is today. The picture caption above asks why 'The Black Giant' is no longer black. Tony Shaw says that, during Col. Darwin's time, the tower was tarred black, but by the time he wrote his book (1995) it had been painted a bluish grey.

By Johnfarjeon
On 03/08/2013

Many thanks for supplying this additional information, John. Do you have information on other mills that you could add to the site?

By Website Administrator
On 06/08/2013

My interest in the windmill at Elston comes mainly from its connection with William Gash's bus company, and I could write up a piece on them

By John Farjeon
On 07/08/2013

I think the sails were removed from the mill during WWII so that they could not be used as a landmark to guide German bombers to Syserton airfield. Does anyone know if thats right?

By Edna Welthorpe
On 14/08/2013

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