Blackborough End


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

John & Thomas Drew c.1868
John & Thomas Drew c.1868

Blackborough End tower mill at Middleton was an 6 storey buttressed tower windmill built by John Drew in 1852. The ogee cap with its iron gallery was vertically boarded with a ball finial and had a petticoat with its own gutter and drainpipe; it was turned by a six bladed fan. The original four double shuttered patent sails had 9 bays of 3 shutters and 1 bay with 1 shutter on the outer pair, however it was noted in 19827 that these had been changed to 8 bays of 3 shutters. The sails powered 3 pairs of French burr stones. A wooden stage was set around the second and a smut machine was worked on the top floor of the mill.

John Drew 1879
John Drew 1879

John Drew was born in Middleton in 1805 and married Jane Driver in 1827 and together they had 7 children.
John Drew died on 1st March 1880.

WANTED, a good MILLER, a good character required.
Apply to Mr. John Drew, Middleton Mills.

Lynn Advertiser - 29th September 1866


To Millers
Wanted, a Miller and Baker. A Single man preferred.
Apply to Wm. Drew, Middleton Mills, Kings Lynn.

Lynn Advertiser & Norfolk News - 5th August 1871

To Millers & Bakers
Wanted, a young man as Improver
Apply to Wm. Drew, Middleton Mills.

Lynn Advertiser - 29th September 1874

William Drew deceased
All persons having any claim or demand upon the estate or effects of William Drew, late of Middleton in the county of Norfolk, miller and farmer ... demands to Mrs. Harriette Drew of Middleton aforesaid widow and relict of the deceased (the administratrix with the will annexed of the estate and effects of the said William Drew, deceased) or to us ...

Dated 11 October 1882 PALMER & WINTER
Swaffham, Norfolk
Solrs. to the said administratrix
Lynn Advertiser - 14th & 21st October 1882

In thanking the inhabitants of Middleton and neighbourhood for their past support, begs to inform them that she has disposed of the Milling and Baking B
usiness (carried on for so many years by her late husband) to Mr. THOMAS DREW
It is requested that all money due to Mrs. Drew may be paid to her forthwith at Holland's House, near the Church, East Winch.
October 11, 1883

Lynn Advertiser - 8th March 1884

In succeeding to the above business for so many years carried on by his late brother and father, begs to solicit a continuance of the patronage they enjoyed and assures their friends and customers of his intention to deserve the same punctual attention and supplying the best goods at current prices.
Middleton Mills. October 11, 1883.

Lynn Advertiser - 20th October 1883

WANTED, a Journeyman Miller, a competent man. One who has been used to wind & steam.
Apply to Mr. Thos. Drew, Middleton Mills, near Lynn, Norfolk.
A good character indispensable.

Lynn Advertiser - 8th March 1884

Mill becoming derelict c.1925 c.1925
Mill becoming derelict c.1925

Sale document - July 1929
Sale document - July 1929

The cast iron proof staff in a case was given to Roger Wagg of Great Bircham towermill on 6th October 1987.

DREW - On March 9th. peacefully, in Queen Elizabeth Hospital. HERBERT WILLIAM, aged 83 years, of Mill House, Blackborough End, Kings Lynn, dearly-loved husband of Gladys. (Funeral service at Mintlyn Crematorium on Wednesday March 13th, at 3.30 p.m. Family flowers only; donations for Queen Elizabeth CAT Scanner Appeal Fund may be sent c/o A. J. Coggles, Funeral Directors, 63/64, Norfolk Street, King's Lynn.)
Eastern Daily Press - 4th June 1970

On 1st March 1974, Philip Unwin was told by Herbert Drew that the mill had been taken down by two Wisbech millwrights for Mr. Charles Fuller who had bought the mill for rubble in 1933.

Middleton, bakehouse and land adjoining Mill House, Mill Lane, Blackborough End, change of use to residential, executors of the late Mrs. G. A. Drew.
Lynn News & Advertiser - Friday 19th February 1988

In 1997, new and enthusiastic owners rebuilt the tower up to 3 storeys and renamed the structure Drew's Mill


John Drew snr handed over the Mill to his son John Drew born 1835 and his wife Julia between 1861 and 1871. John born 1835 had died in 1871 and the Mill was in the hands of William Drew (youngest son of John Drew) and his wife Harriett (daughter of Sir Walpole Chamberlayne of Great Dunham Hall). When William Died in 1882 without issue, Harriett passed the business on to Thomas Drew the only surviving brother and his wife Mary Ann Wicks. the Mill remained in the hands of the Drew family until 1929 when the Drew Estate was Auctioned at the Globe Hotel in Kings Lynn, after the death of Thomas drew aged 92 years.
There is information that the Mill remained in the hands of the Drew family after that date and a Herbert William Drew and his wife Gladys Alice Drew were the occupants, However I cannot trace a Birth, Marriage or Death registration for Herbert William Drew  in the Registers. or any reference to him on the 1891 or 1901 census records. There is however an Obituary notice in the Eastern Daily Express dated 4 June 1970 for Herbert William Drew's death on 9 Mar 1970, residing at Mill House Blackborough End, Middleton Norfolk.
Also on the 19 Feb 1988 in the Lynn Advertiser a notice as follows
Middleton 2/88/0620/CU/F Bakehouse and Land adjoining Mill House, Mill Lane, Blackborough End, Change of use to residential, Executors of the late Mrs G A Drew.
Gladys Alice Drew Died Jan 1987 at Kings Lynn ref 10/1560/187 (Wife of Herbert William Drew). she was born 4 Sept 1906. I cannot find the marriage to Herbert William Drew.
I do have a lot more info in the form of Wills and Inquest papers which I'm happy to share if people want to contact me, so you can add my email address as a contact.
I am particularly interested in the events of the Mill between 1929 and 1988, as it is known that the property went out of the hands of the Drew family but info has recently turned up contradicting this.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has any further info on the Drew family of Middleton.
There was also a Book written by George James and published in 1988 called "The White Horse Gang and Others" .
The Book is dedicated to the Folk of Blackborough End, Middleton. It is written by George James (George Harding) and is a true event of his childhood in Middleton. Also Covering details of the Drew family and the Mill.
All the information I have can be backed up by actual copies of Birth, Marriage or Death certificates, Census reports between 1841 and 1901, Extracts from the original parish registers and not transcripts, Gravestones where I have found them and various newspaper cuttings. All the photographs are original and in my possession, some are as far as I'm aware the only ones to exist.

Dave Hawkes - 5th April 2008

2nd April 2008
2nd April 2008

By accident I happened upon your page for Blackborough Mill,,Blackborough End, nr Middleton, Kings Lynn in Norfolk.  Although I haven't read it all I notice that you question the residence and ownership of Drew family members from circa 1929. 
The problem seems to be reports of the passing of the mill from the ownership of the Drew family.  Then it appeared in the ownership of Herbert William Drew and his wife Gladys.
I can say that I was an "evacuee" in one of the mill cottages at the bottom of the lane, and remember there being a "Bert Drew" and his wife in residence in the Mill House in 1942. 
We moved away in, I think, 1948/9.  The point which occurred to me is that there was an elder "Mr Drew" living in the house too,  I remember him as an elderly man in the late 1940's,,and always accepted him as Mr Herbert (Bert) Drew's father. 
I have a clear memory of him because he drove a pony and trap but could never catch "Lady", the pony, when he wanted to go out.  On occasions he would ask me to post letters for him.   Being young I had made friends with his pony and often fed her handfulls of grass.  She would always come to me at the stile in the lane.  Therefore I could  "catch" her for the elderly man. 
I could see nothing which referred to this "Mr Drew" in the lists of names and dates on the page.  However, as I say, I have just found it and have not read it thoroughly. The probability is that the elderly gentleman would have been born around 1870.  I always addressed him as "Mr Drew" and was never "corrected".  The thought just occurred that there is a slight chance it was Mrs Drew's father who was living with them.  However, I do not think so.
By the time we moved into the cottage the mill had been dismantled with only a circular brick wall... being the former base of the windmill tower.  The adjoining building still contained the impedimenta of milling... and was heaven for an exploring child  The small bakehouse at the end was still producing bread and I would often be sent to Mr and Mrs Drew's residence, the Mill House, for a loaf.  I doubt this is of any value to you, but please accept it for what it is worth.  The Drews were nice folks and as a lad not yet in his teens I have pleasant memories of them.

Robert Scott-Puttock - 30th September 2008

As a lad I lived next door to Mr "Bert" Herbert Drew and his wife Gladys, I can confirm that Bert's Mother was a Miss Jane Drew who lived in a cottage to the East of Mill Lane, to reach it one had to across a smal footbridge over a drainage dyke.her next door neighbor was a Mr Mrs Baxter.
Bert was Jane's illegitimate son and the elderly gentleman who was living with Bert and Gladys was in fact Bert's Uncle.

Mike Pitcher - 15th December 2009

O.S. Map 1884
O.S. Map 1884
Blackborough End towermill bottom left and Middleton East Winch Road postmill top right
Courtesy of NLS map images

Related family members

White's 1836: John Drew, baker

White's 1845: John Drew, baker, Blackborough End
White's 1845: John Drew, joiner, Hollow End

White's 1854: James Drew, blacksmith & farmer, Hollow End

White's 1864: James Drew, blacksmith, Blackborough End

White's 1883: James Drew, blacksmith, Wormegay
White's 1883: Thomas Drew, farmer, Tower end

Kelly's 1896: Walter Drew, farmer

Kelly's 1900: Walter Drew, farmer

Kelly's 1925: Tom Drew, farmer

Kelly's 1929: John Drew, farmer

Kelly's 1933: Thomas Drew, farmer

Kelly's 1937: Thomas Drew, farmer

1852: Mill built for John Drew

White's 1854: John Drew, baker & corn miller

1859: Steam mill built by John Drew to power 3 pairs of stones

White's 1864: John Drew, baker, miller & farmer, Blackborough End

1866: John Drew, miller

1st March 1880: John Drew died

1882: William Drew died

1882: Mrs. Harriette Drew, miller

White's 1883: Mrs. Drew, Blackborough

October 1883: Thomas Drew took over the business after the death of his father John and brother William

1884: Thomas Drew, miller

White's 1890: Thomas Drew, miller, farmer, Blackborough

Kelly's 1892: Thomas Drew, miller (wind & steam) farmer & baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1896: Thomas Drew, miller (wind & steam) farmer & baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1900: Thomas Drew, miller (wind & steam) farmer & baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1904: Thomas Drew, miller (wind & steam) farmer & baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1908: Thomas Drew, miller (wind & steam) farmer & baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1912: John Drew, miller (wind & steam) farmer & baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1916: John Drew, baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1922: John Drew, baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1925: John Drew, baker, Blackborough mills

1926: Mill derelict

Kelly's 1929: Frederick Mack, miller
Kelly's 1929: John Drew, baker, Blackborough mills

1933: Charles Fuller bought the mill and demolished it for the carrstone that made up the tower

Karl Wood painting 1933: Small heap of rubble

Kelly's 1933: Frederick Mack, miller. T. N. 23
Kelly's 1933: John Drew, baker, Blackborough mills

Kelly's 1937: Frederick Mack, miller. T. N. 23
Kelly's 1937: John Drew, baker, Blackborough mills

Yates 1966: Mack (Middleton) Ltd.,Middleton. Mills & Bakery. Ph. Middleton 223

1997: Mill rebuilt to two storeys

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 07836 675369 or

Nat Grid Ref TF66421460  

Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2006

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