Arthur ‘Mr. Windmills’ Smith - An Appreciation
of His Life
Smith 1924 - 2013
Arthur Smith who died on Tuesday 18th June 2013 at a
residential home in Newton Abbot, Devon, was best
known to people in the mill world as a first class
researcher and meticulous recorder of windmills, in
photographs as well as text. Completed surveys of
the surviving windmills of a dozen English counties
include about 750 Mills and old sites, all visited
and recorded personally.
Well into his 80s when he died, Arthur travelled
over 20,000 miles, seldom by any form of transport
other than by bicycle, during the 1970s and 1980s
after coming across John Vince’s book Discovering
Windmills. Dissatisfied with the little
information that he could find written about
windmills or where they were, he decided to find out
and this became an absorbing interest culminating in
books recording the windmills by County, all
published by himself at his own cost.
A man with many interests (besides windmills) which
encompassed music, natural history, aeroplanes,
cycling everywhere and camping out in his own styled
bivouac when on long-distance trips, plus competing
in half marathons, marathons and cross-country
races. In fact in 1999 he took part in his fifth
London Marathon at the age of 75!
During WWII he flew in Halifax bombers and stayed in
contact with two of the remaining crew. He became a
design draughtsman after the war and worked for
British Aerospace on projects ranging from the Comet
to the BAe 146.
After retirement from work in 1987, he was a
frequent visitor at Cromer Post mill. During the
1990s he recorded all the stages of the restoration
work on this last remaining post mill in
Hertfordshire, chronicling it for posterity.
I never met him but I met people who did at the
Henley Traditional Boat Show a couple of years ago.
I was attending the Mills Archive stand and some
cyclists from Bedfordshire came through, following
the Oxfordshire Trail, who said "Oh, a member of our
cycling club is mad about windmills and cycles
around all of them. His name is Arthur Smith.”
Arthur Smith was a remarkable man who will be missed
by many, but thank you Arthur, for all that you have
done for generations to come researching
Sheila M. Viner.
to the Mills Archive for the use of the
Mike Thurlow – Norfolk’s Only Watermiller