Posts Tagged ‘Lincolnshire’

Amy Howson

October 28, 2015

From time to time boats I see take the eye. Normally these would have a canal connection or be sailing boats or barges. One such was the Amy Howson which I spotted in the Barton on Humber area in the autumn of 2006. Despite sitting on the mud I thought she looked truly lovely, but lighting and her position made photography difficult.


This view was into the sun and so the boat looks dark.

It was a better view from the other end.


What a lovely vessel. You can type Amy Howson into Google these days and get a fantastic history of this sloop which dates from 1914. That means she has celebrated her centenary since I saw her.

The site to visit is .

I really do suggest you visit that site. The boat has an amazing history of ownership changes sail changes, engine changes etc. There are dozens of photos on that web site, better than mine as well.

What a fantastic boat!


Maud the Mill

May 21, 2015

The Maud Foster drain is a watercourse in Boston, Lincolnshire. Alongside it there is a massive windmill which is called the Maud Foster Mill. It is a grand structure.


The most striking thing for me, used to neat and tidy south of England mills, is that this one has five sails. Well, there is that and just the sheer height of the structure. Boston is in the flat lands of Eastern England and height may have been needed to get a good smooth air flow. Had there been a hill, then a less dramatic, smaller mill could have been built on it. But Boston is not known for hills. So this mill has three floors before you reach the gallery at fourth floor level. The gallery, of course, gave access to individual sails.

This mill dates from 1819. It remained in commercial use until 1948 and then, rapidly fell into disrepair before full restoration in 1987. The mill works and tourists can buy its products.

There are eight sets of stones for grinding the grain making this the most productive windmill in Britain.

The granary, next to the mill is also a charming building but is overshadowed by Maud the Mill.

We visited in 2001 and the photo above is actually two shots stitched together to produce a large photo of the entire mill. That hardly matters on a blog post where images are small. It is interesting, though, to remember the tricks of the trade from those much earlier digital photography days.

Alford Mill

April 2, 2015

They do things differently in Lincolnshire. Down in the south of England, where I come from, we tend to use right angles. Up in Lincolnshire they like to divide their circles into five rather than four. So instead of right angles of 90 degrees they use angles of 72 degrees.

Now what on earth am I talking about? Well the title of this piece is Alford Mill so I am talking about the windmill in the rather lovely little town of Alford in Lincolnshire.

The town sign shows it. Alford has a windmill with five sweeps (or sails) – and like the town, the mill is delightful.


It has to be said that when I visited it was a rather drab day towards the end of October in 2006. No doubt it is even more charming in good weather. But come rain or come shine, that mill is truly worth seeing. So let’s go and find it.


There it is, peeping over a hedge and it really does have five sails, sitting atop the tower with a rather onion shaped cap to the mill. To my eyes, attuned to four sweeps it does look strange and I can see possible disadvantages in that it can’t be run on reduced power with two sails as a four sweep mill can. But maybe five sails extract a bit more power from the wind than four do.


It’s a tall mill.

There are seven storeys to the mill which has been preserved, restored and so is still working, largely, of course, as a tourist attraction. It was built back in 1837.

At one time Alford boasted four windmills. There was one with four sails, another with five and the fourth had 6 sails to drive the machinery.


Here we see the fantail at the back – such a clever yet simple mechanism to make sure the main sails always face into the wind. We can also see the slats that comprise the sweeps – patent sails with no need for a chap to climb up the sails to fix canvas. In this photo it is easy to see why the mechanism in the centre of the sails is called the spider.

Lovely mill! Well worth a visit!

Waltham Locomotives

July 16, 2013

My wife always says I have a nose for steam. She thinks I have some kind of sixth sense that can pick out a steam train from miles away. It isn’t true, of course, but sometimes luck plays a part in finding the unexpected – including steam railways.

When, in 2006, we were in Waltham in Lincolnshire I had no idea that it had a steam railway. But it did, and it was operating.


Aha, a British Railways standard type 2 tank is at the head of a train. It is, of course, a miniature – but what a superb one. And this loco was not alone.


OK, the Deltic is not steam, but for many an enthusiast they were the finest of the early 60s diesels. I note that this Deltic is running on the narrower gauge of this mixed gauge railway. The driver now gives a sense of scale.


Another steamer.  I’m not expert enough to know what real engine this is modelled on, but once again it looked fine.


Two trains, with passengers. And as we can see visibility isn’t always perfect for miniature steam train drivers.