The Blackheath Windmills
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Not many residents realise that we have had two windmills in Blackheath over the decades. The largest was the one situated in the garden of Tangley Way, the house sitting on the Blackheath/Chilworth border. The other was at Luesdon.
Sometime after the end of the First World War, Edward Lancaster Burne and his family moved to Blackheath. They lived in Luesdon (now Winter Meadow). It was whilst living there he formed a new idea for a new form of sail and mill that generated electricity.
This comprised of a miniature traditional windmill cap, with Burne’s patented design of sails in a timber tower. This may have been a prototype for future mills of this type and was constructed on the roof of a shed in front of an outbuilding at Luesdon.
This would have been particularly of use during this period as Blackheath was well out of reach of local electricity supply companies.
This miniature smock mill was erected on a platform on the roof of a shed positioned just in front of the out building of Luesdon. The mill was winded with a fantail, which drove onto a gear ring immediately below the curb. The mill was probably constructed around 1920 and was used for charging radio and car batteries.
It was also at this time that Burne entered into an agreement with ‘English Brothers Ltd’ to manufacture windmills for the generation of electricity.
In 1923 he designed a windmill for Mr Kennedy of Tangley Way, a wealthy businessman and head of an engineering firm. Kennedy must have known Burne or seen him about the village. The house had been rebuilt after a fire. The windmill could supply enough horsepower for 75 lights.
In 1924 he Burne family moved to Kent ,taking the miniature windmill with him. In 1936 after his family had grown up he moved back to Blackheath with his wife and they lived in Frith Cottage.
He continued to work in ‘electricity by wind power’ until he died suddenly in 1946. His wife Mary continued to live in the village until her death. Both are buried in the village cemetery.