PICTURE OF THE WEEK

 

THE FIRST WINDMILL AT JERUSALEM

*courtesy of Ken

 

WINDMILL AT JERUSALEM

Sir Moses Montefiore has caused to be erected at the foot of Mount Zion, about a quarter of a mile from the Jaffa Gate, a windmill for the use of the poorer inhabitants of Jerusalem, who had previously the labourious task of grinding their corn by handmills. The mill was constructed by Messrs. Holman, engineers and millwrights, of Canterbury, under the personal superintendence of Mr. T. R. Holman. Great difficulty was experienced in landing the machinery at Jaffa, the landing-stage there not being strong enough to bear it. Each piece had to be dragged ashore by about forty men. Four months were occupied in conveying it thence to Jerusalem, on the backs of camels, the road not being passable to carriages of any description. All difficulties were, however, finally overcome, and the machinery was fixed without loss or breakage of any portion. The tower of the mill is built of stone quarried on the spot, and the walls are three feet thick and nearly fifty feet high. All the modern improvements have been introduced in this mill. It is fitted with the self-acting regulating sails, to prevent its going too fast when the wind blows hard. It drives two pair of stones, and has flour-dressing and wheat-cleaning machinery attached. During the course of its construction it was looked upon with an evil eye by the millers there, and one of their head men was sent to curse it. Before the rainy season set in it was prophesied that the heavy rains prevalent there would wash it away; and, when the mill was found to have passed through the stormy season in no way injured, it was pronounced to be the work of Satan. The poor Jews, however, for whose use and benefit the mill was erected, are loud in their praises of their benefactor, Sir Moses Montefiore.

 

Links for further reading

- Sir Moses Montefiore laid the cornerstone of the Jewish Synagogue in Canterbury

- Photo's of Sir Moses Montefiore (gettyimages)

- Holman Bros., Millwrights of Canterbury: A history (Mills Archive)

 

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