drainage mill
River Yare


Drainage Windpumps
Steam Mills

Septermber 1930
Septermber 1930

Hardley drainage mill was built in 1874 as a 4 storey red brick tower, some 43ft to the curb. By the 1990s the tower had developed a definite lean. The mill is situated down along track and stands next to the River Yare.


May 1989
May 1989

In 1988 Arthur Smith recorded that the frame remained on top of the tower and the brake wheel was visible but there was no windshaft. The turbine was also still in situ inside the mill.

Plaque 19th August 2006
19th August 2006

A datestone was set on the second storey that read TWBPB 1874. However, it was removed in 1976 and later replaced.

Mill cutaway drawing
showing plan of restoration
(pdf download file)

Wallower 19th August 2006
Wallower 19th August 2006
Turbine housing 19th August 2006

On 24th November 2006 the Eastern Daily Press reported that the the Waveney, Lower Yare & Lothingland Drainage Boards had refused permission for Peter Grix to construct a visitor centre despite support for the project by the Broads Authority, the Environment Agency, the District Council and the County Council.

19th August 2006
19th August 2006

15th April 2008
New visitor centre 15th April 2008

30th August 2008
30th August 2008

2008: Mill open to the public for viewing from the exterior only. Access to the site and newly constructed visitor centre via the river or Wherryman's Way riverside walk. A new website constructed - see links_page on this website.

30th August 2008 30th August 2008
30th August 2008
30th August 2008

A 35 ton All TerrainCrane was hired in for some the heavy lifting .
The crane lowered its hook straight through the Perspex roof of the shed breaking it to enable the removal of the brake wheel segments from inside, to the grass in front of the mill.
The temporary cap was lifted off the mill, followed by the red supporting band. Then the crane lifted the main shaft up and out of the mill and lowered it to the ground.
Work on the mainshaft was done at ground level to ensure it would correctly align with the curb before re-positioning both back into the mill using the crane.
With the brake wheel segments removed, the space in the shed allowed for the assembly of the heavy wooden framework  support for the cap machinery and running gear.
The brake wheel segments were assembled in position on the windshaft, complete with the canister ready to take the stocks.
The complete assembly is having final adjustments and will be lifted intact from the shed to the mill at a later date.
The stocks are on site and are being shaped and prepared, the 120 shutters for the sails are being covered in canvas prior to linseed oiling and painting. 

Anne Grand - Saturday 30th August 2008

The 95 LV wave-form cable supplying electricity to Hardley mill's visitors centre was laid prior to connection on Tuesday 21st October 2008.
Approximately 120 metres of cable were laid by Morrisons, contractors working on behalf of EDF. The cable was laid in a trench dug out across the marshes.
A cable drum was suspended by means of a hiab-crane fitted to the back of a specialised Ford Iveco lorry. This allowed the cable to be pulled into the trench using a winch towed by a landrover. The cable then has a warning tape placed over it before back-filling the trench. The whole task took five men a couple of hours. Another small step closer to the completion of the Hardley mill project!

Phil Grand - 24th October 2008

20th April 2009 26th April 2009
20th April 2009
26th April 2009

Hardley Newsletter - Spring 2015

February 2013 with Cantly sugar beet factory behind February 2013 with Cantly sugar beet factory behind
February 2013 with Cantly sugar beet factory behind

The old turbine 14th February 2008
New countershaft waiting for cogs to be profiled 20th December 2012

O. S. Map 1881-84
O. S. Map 1881-84
Courtesy of NLS map images

1874: Mill built

O.S. map 1881-84: Hardley Draining Pump (Wind)

1985: Mill leased to Peter Grix

1988 Cap frame still in situ

24th November 2006: Permission refused for the building of a visitor centre

March 2008: Visitor centre built

Tuesday 21st October 2008: Electricity supply to the mill connected

2009: New cap and sails fitted

2011: Upper stairs repositioned, new gallery installed and turbine pump lowered into well

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 01263 713658 or

Nat Grid Ref TG387204
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2006