Cleadon Chimney and Windmill

Cleadon Chimney and Windmill

Image Details

Title Cleadon Chimney and Windmill
Reference Number STH0006608
Photographer Bardwell Keith
Town or Village Cleadon Village
Date Circa 1983
Original Format Colour photograph
Period The 1980s
Copyright South Tyneside Libraries
Further Information The water works were built for the Sunderland and South Shields Water
Company to a design by Thomas Hawksley  and opened in 1863. The
facility was typical of the grand Victorian waterworks style of the
day, and resembles its sister station at Ryhope which was built a few
years later.

It was one of a chain of wells that stretched from Cleadon in the
north to Hesledon  in the south, which were constructed to exploit
the reserves of clean fresh water that lay trapped in the permeable
limestone. Little is known about the engine that drove the pumps, it
was described as a 'high class' beam engine of 130 hp, driving a
pump that drew water from a well 258 feet deep and 12 feet in
diameter, the water standing 18 feet deep at the bottom. The works
were electrified in 1930 and the steam plant removed.

The chimney itself is 100 feet tall and the balcony is 82 feet above
ground level, a square spiral staircase of 141 steps winds around the
central flue. It was designed to resemble the well known Italian
campanile bell towers, and was placed above the works on the highest
part of the hill to facilitate boiler draughting and the dispersal of
smoke and steam. While the other buildings have since been converted
into homes, the chimney has been threatened with demolition at least
once, notwithstanding the fact that it now houses a number of radio
aerials, and presumably generates revenue in the form of rent.

The ruined windmill on the hills was constructed in the 1820s. The
mill is built on the highest part of Cleadon Hills on a slight
artificial mound. The building incorporates a stone reefing stage a
feature that was peculiar to windmills in the area.

The mill was severely damaged in a storm at some time during the
1870s, and then suffered the indignity of being a target for gunnery
practice during the First World War.