Mill memories: Bill Pearson

After the recent publicity over the restoration and reopening of Brixton Windmill, we received several emails from people all over the country (and one from Australia) who used to live in the area and remembered the mill. We will be publishing some of these over the next few weeks, starting today with Bill Pearson.

“I’m very pleased to see that the windmill has been restored. I was born in 1922 at 65 Brandon Road, later changed to Barkley Road [now Glanville Road]. I went to Lyham Road School.

map of brandon road 1899

Map from 1899 showing Brandon Road, Brixton

“Our house received a direct hit during the Blitz in September 1940. Fortunately we were not in it; we were in a neighbour’s shelter. My father was a well-known racing pigeon fancier and our garden was mostly filled by their shed: they were all killed. After that my family moved away from Brixton.

“As a boy aged 13-15 I worked evenings and weekends for the greengrocer and coal merchant Mr Springall in Cornwall Road. He kept three horses for his rounds at the windmill stables, including Billy and Ginger. They were magnificent animals. It was my job to clear out the stables, bed the horses down and clean out the stone horse trough outside. We were always able to go into the windmill, although it was not open to the public, and I remember the wonderful and overpowering smell of the grain.

“I think the windmill stopped working in 1934. At the time it was powered by a steam engine, which was outside.

“I was thrilled to see such good pictures of the mill and the reopening and I look forward to receiving more newsletters.”

Bill Pearson now lives in Eastbourne

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