The mill’s origins
Skidby Mill was built in 1821 by millwrights Norman and Smithson of Hull and replaced an earlier post mill on the same site. From 1854 until 1962 the mill was owned by the Thompson family, who also owned a steam roller mill in Hull and a water mill at Welton.
Many mills went out of business at the end of the 19th century during the Great Agricultural Depression. However, the Thompsons had their profitable roller mills in Hull, and Benjamin Thompson loved to see himself as ‘The Miller of Skidby’. Skidby was therefore converted to the production of animal foodstuffs by raising the mill tower, building additional outbuildings and installing new animal feed machines. These changes allowed Skidby Mill to survive.
In 1954 the sails were disconnected and electric machinery installed. In 1962 the Thompsons finally had to sell their business to Allied Mills, but Joseph Thompson persuaded the company to sell the mill to Beverley Rural District Council for use as a museum. In 1974 the mill was restored to full working order using wind power.
This Grade II* listed building is now the last working windmill in East Yorkshire.
Following two local government reorganisations, Skidby Mill is now owned by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and managed as a museum of East Riding Rural Life, producing flour milled from English wheat in the traditional manner.
Since 1913, Skidby Mill has been maintained by the millwrights R.Thompson & Sons of Alford, Lincolnshire. This long association means that we have been able to build up a picture of the 20th century conservation of the mill from the millwrights’ records. The mill conservation has involved several periods of major work including a complete removal of the cap by dismantling in 1937.
In 2008, the cap once again had to be removed for major restoration work, but this time it was lifted off in one piece by crane, a process that was unthinkable in 1937. The restoration work was completed in early 2010. A display documenting the restoration work can be seen on the Flour Bagging floor of the mill.