This photo of Redcar mill is the only one that seems to be in general circulation, sadly no sails were present at this time.
Recently Ian Weber has suggested to me that the photo widely regarded to be Coatham Windmill could also be Redcar.
His suggestion is that a similar wall with buttresses at the bottom of the photo seems to still exist today ?
Whilst it does look very similar, the argument against this is the two white brick chimneys visible in the background of that same photo (a block of 8 and block of 4) which match those still to be seen on Station Road today.
Let us now turn out attention to a series of old etchings which show the windmills. If we’re looking west at the back of St Peters then the six sail mill is in Redcar to the right and the four sail mill, although appearing close is actually in the distance in Coatham.
This 1836 view east at the tower end of St Peters, shows the six sail mill near to the church as expected.
A similar view looking south-east from the seafront, again shows the six sail mill very clearly.
So what of the third windmill ?
It stood near Marsh House Farm at Warrenby and was destroyed by fire in 1815.
This windmill was built somewhere between 1861 and 1863 by George Burnett, the mill was 64ft tall with three storeys and had 4 sails which were apparently still in use until around 1915.
After this the mill fell into disuse and the upper stories were removed in 1960.
High Leven Mill dates from around 1750.
The windmill was converted to a house around 1966 -1968 (depending on your sources) and now operates as a B&B.
The windmills of Redcar and Coatham continue to be of interest across the years, this post originated in 2010 has been updated in 2013, 2015 and again with fresh information from ‘Redcar Memories’ in 2018.
Coatham Windmill was located on Station Road and parts of a substantial sandstone wall are still present to the rear, although that may be associated buildings rather than the core of the windmill. This viewpoint and car park have since been covered by the Redcar & Cleveland Leisure and Community Heart building.
This photo of the Baptist Church on Station Road shows a structure behind that must be part of the Windmill, apparently used for observation during World War 1 (but it does not feature on 1932 aerial photos) so presumably demolished between those dates.
Ian Weber has also kindly pointed out the same structure being shown in the back ground of this photo of the Grammer School too.
It also features, standing alone, with its sails in this old etching shared by Fred Brunskill
This photo shows the Coatham Windmill, with its 4 sails, but many more buildings clustered around.
The two white brick chimneys visible in the background of that photo (a block of 8 and block of 4) match those still to be seen on Station Road today.
A review of the British Newspaper Archive allows us to link some names to the windmill
Northern Echo – Monday 18 December 1876
WANTED, a Respectable GENERAL SERVANT. Apply to Mrs DOWSON Coatham Mill, Redcar.
Dowson is also mentioned in this 1873 accident
Redcar & Saltburn News 24/01/1873.
On Monday morning last a little boy, 2 ½ years of age, son of Mr. Dowson, miller, went up into the mill to call his father to dinner, As he did not return as was expected an elder brother went to look for him, and found him frightfully injured. It would appear that the child had been playing with a stick, and lost it in the “shopper,” and in trying to get it he was pulled into the machinery and was found with his thigh and knee joint broken. Dr. Bennett was in prompt attendance, and found the child in great suffering from the shock as well as from the injuries he had sustained, On Wednesday the child was sufficiently recovered to enable him to be removed, when he was sent to the Cottage Hospital, North Ormesby.
In 1868 the mill was up for let following the death of Robert Coulson
York Herald – Saturday 05 December 1868
TO BE LET, with Immediate Possession, all that CORN WIND MILL, with DWELLING- HOUSE, GRANARY, STABLE, CART-HOUSE, and other Outbuildings, situated within a few yards of Redcar Railway Station, in the County of York, where an extensive Business has been carried on for upwards of Forty years by the late Mr. Robert Coulson. For Particulars, apply to Mr. Coulson, Coatham Mill, Redcar.
The Coulson family has a long association with both windmills of Redcar which is covered in the excellent article “The Redcar Windmill Brothers and the ‘Belsay Castle’ Tragedy”
If Robert Coulson was involved for ‘upwards of 40 years’ in 1868 this article from 1825 on the repair of the Zetland must be relatively early in his association with the mill.
York Herald – Saturday 05 November 1825
THE REDCAR LIFE BOAT, in the year 1822 was found in so dilapidated a state, that it was thought necessary for her to undergo a thorough repair, and under the inspection of MR CHR TENANT, she was completely repaired and made sea-worthy and was afterwards resigned to the hands of Mr Thomas King of Kirkleatham as acting manager, under a committee of the principle gentlemen of Cleveland
Among those accounts is a £1 contribution from “Mr Coulson of Coatham Mill” on November 10th 1824 (from a total repair bill of £170)
The earliest reference I currently have relates to a Mr James Davison taking control in late 1805
Newcastle Courant – Saturday 04 January 1806
Coatham Mill and Granaries
Below Stockton, situated at the mouth of the River Tees, here vessels may load and unload at all seasons of the year.
James Davison respectfully acquaints his friends at the public, that he has entered on the above premesis, where he intends carring on the flour and meal business in all its branches, and flatters himself that by his unremitting attention, he shall be able to supply with the best quantities, and on the most reasonable terms. He likewise buys and sells all kinds of grain, bacon, butter and cheese &c on commission. Order will be punctually attended to and ever gratefully acknowledged. 13th December 1805