Oxen Moving a Mill, 1797

This picture shows an event that took place in 1797, when a windmill was moved from Brighton seafront to a new location. The watercolour was painted by Percy Macquoid and is a copy of an oil painting.

Oxen Moving a Mill
Oxen Moving a Mill

What can we see?

Oxen

It took 86 oxen to move the windmill. The mill originally stood on Belle Vue field, which is where Regency Square is today, opposite the i360. It was transported to the top of Dyke Road.

That’s a journey of about two miles, and mostly uphill.

Windmill

Known as Streeter’s Smock Mill, the building was transported intact. We can see that it’s been mounted on boards like giant skis.

The sails of the windmill we can see here are an artistic embellishment by Macquoid. Drawings from the time indicate that these were removed before transport. Had they been left on, the additional wind resistance would have made it far too difficult to move.

Sightseers

Moving the mill was a spectacular event. Here we can see some local people enjoying the scene.

The shepherd on the left reminds us that these hills were also used for sheep farming.

Dan Robertson, Curator of Local History & Archaeology

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