The Haymill Water Wheel?

Many people who lived in Cippenham Green will remember the sight of an abandoned water-wheel lying in a field. Past the north side of the village green was a large field known as Greg’s farm. The Gregory family had certainly been farm owners in Cippenham for well over a century and almost certainly did own the field in some era. At the side of the field nearest Warner Close there was a large open-sided dilapidated iron barn around which there was an eclectic scattering of vehicles including a WW2 DUKW and odd pieces of junk. One of the items had the appearance of being a water wheel. It had been there at least from the late 60’s. It has been speculated – although no one seems to know for sure, that this was once the water wheel of the Haymill mill.


This is the possibly Hay Mill’s water-wheel

It could be seen that there were once blades/paddles all the way round the circumference but most of them have broken away by the time of this photograph. The houses in Warner Close can be seen through the spokes of the wheel. It is recorded that there was a manufacturer name cast on the wheel “W. R. DELL & SON. ENGINEERS. LONDON & CROYDON”. Recently, some limited information on Dell & Sons has came onto the internet. They company were indeed described as millwrights which strengthens the case that this was a mill-wheel and not part of some other type of equipment. It would seen likely therefore that this was Haymill’s water wheel. But how on earth did it end up in a Cippenham field?

19 Responses to The Haymill Water Wheel?

  1. John Lincoln says:

    This field actually lay to the south west of the green not the north as stated in the article.

    It’s certainly a water mill wheel but I’m thinking it’s rather more likely to have come from Cippenham Mill than Haymill. The mill stood just beyond the southern boundary of the green about 30 yards from the bottom end of Millstream Lane and had an array of millponds along the southern edge of the green. Old OS maps show that the ponds were filled in between 1926 and 1935 which will be when it ceased operation. The mill buildings are shown on maps up to 1947 and it will have been demolished shortly afterwards.

    • Dreadnaught says:

      As you say, the field lay to the south side of the green.

      I am sceptical that there could have been a water mill in this area. There are no records I know of and I would have thought the land is too flat. The ponds precede the existence of the building that you identify as the mill. These ponds appear to have once formed part of a watered ditch running around all sides of the green, perhaps dug for the purpose of keeping cattle contained.

    • Dreadnaught says:

      I was told by a long-term resident that there was once a wooden building at the end of Millstream Lane past the houses. Early in the 20th century the owners (Lacy?) used it as a shop to sell sweets and refreshments to cricket spectators. Apparently, in the late 60s when the new houses at the end of Millstream Lane were proposed, the fact that this earlier building had existed was instrumental in granting of planning permission.

  2. John Lincoln says:

    PS Slough Museum have a photograph which they annotate as Cippenham Mill but I think it may be wrongly attributed.

    • James Taylor says:

      I’d like to see this photograph. Can it be vewed on the web or do I need to visit the museum. Is the museum still in Slough High Street?

  3. David Hall says:

    I can remember, as a lad, wandering around inside the Haymill. I can also recall seeing the wheel still in situ. I believe it was planned to use the wheel and the mill stones as exterior exhibits at the Haymill school when it became the Haymill Centre. I am sure I saw the mill stones there but I believe that the wheel was so badly rusted that it had to be scrapped.

  4. George says:

    I used to use the stone on the left to tie my shoe laces before going into school 1958/1961 I can remember an old pond on the east side of the the field at the end and behind the fence which had a load of old oil drums in the water but i don’t think the wheel came from there.

  5. Dave Hill says:

    I always thought it came from Haymill, as I said in my response to the article about Haymill (dated 11/7/17) my uncle Ken (Kennedy) and aunt Joan were trying to get it restored but both dead now, dunno what happened to it.

  6. Tony Winzar says:

    I went to Westgate & started there in the 1st year of its opening ((1958???).
    The history teacher there, a Mr McKenzie, took a photographic survey of the Haymill during its demolition. I recall he gave a slide show at the school in one of his lessons.
    Mr McKenzie is, I would imagine, long gone but maybe a member of Westgate’s administration might know of the photos eventual resting place. Maybe even in their archives.
    ‘Britain from above’ website shows aerial photos of the area.
    Tony Winzar

  7. Robert says:

    I think somehow a mill was there at the end of millstream lane where where the houses were biuilt the stream was much wider in those days as a very young boy fishing with a net and jam jar. Later a pig farm. Cippenham mill millstream lane has a stream along it and filled in and built houses along it. Ruins of a house near by the footpath that lead to Wood Lane and to eton wick and further Eton and Windsor..

    • Dreadnaught says:

      Hello Robert,

      I also remember the house ruins on the south side of the green from when I was a boy in the 1960s. It is very unlikely that there was a mill at the end of Millstream Lane. The stream in Millstream Lane was the outflow from Hay Mill (in Haymill). That is why the Lane is called Millstream Lane. If there had been a mill at the end of the lane I should think it would have been called Mill Lane instead. There would also have been references to the mill on historical maps and documents such as the court rolls but there aren’t any. The lay of the land there just isn’t suitable to power a mill.

      I would be interested to hear which decade(s) you lived in Cippenham and what else you can remember about living there. Do you remember any of the old buildings like the gardener’s cottages or Western house?

  8. victor edwin doyle says:

    It might have been an undershot mill wheel, less efficient than an overshot, but they were used where there was no head of water.

    • Dreadnaught says:

      Even an undershot wheel requires some feet of head and, in addition, a large rate of flow to extract a workable amount of power. At Millstream Lane, the stream and lay of the land could not have provided either of these. If there had been a mill at Cippenham Green there would be historical evidence. There is no evidence, and it would have been impossible to site a functional mill there.

  9. norman belson says:

    norman belson i lived at 51 millstream lane up to 1958 it was an old coaching inn which was split into three houses it was condemned by the council i think this old house

  10. norman belson says:

    re water mill it was removed by bob gregory to cippenham when the mill was broken up norman belson

  11. Tom HINE says:

    Hello.I am a Berkshire Mill Historian of some 26 years. I saw your correspondence re Cippenham Mill, From my notes of some years ago, I have; ‘Cippenham Mill stood on the south west corner of Millstream Lane being fed by the waters of Two Mile/Mile Brook running from Hay Mill/Haymill and a water supply from Cippenham village pond. The tail water then ran on to Chalvey, Upton and Ditton passing Chippenham Timber Wharf, west of Chippenham Palace. Some of the mill structure/timbers were to be seen as late as the 1920s’. Hope this may help. Please keep me up to date with your findings…Kind Regards……Tom!

    • Dreadnaught says:

      Hello Tom,

      Thank you for your comment. May I say how wonderful it is to hear from an historical expert with 26 years experience. I would be grateful if you could let us what the source(s) of the information for your notes were, so that we can corroborate them.

      I wonder how there could there have been a timber wharf in Cippenham when there was no navigable waterway?

      Kind Regards


  12. Dave Hill says:

    the ruins on the south side of the village green were of aunty vics house (possibly gt aunt or gt gt aunt)

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