For a full map of Rottingdean with all our attractions on it see our map of Rottingdean
Rottingdean Windmill has stood high up on Beacon Hill for over 200 years overlooking the village and the sea. It can be seen from at least two miles away, a symbol of Rottingdean itself. Rescued from demolition and restored, it is now open to the public on the 3rd Sunday of each month from May to September.
These open days are a wonderful opportunity to see inside one of Rottingdean’s iconic landmarks. The windmill is organised and maintained by The Rottingdean Preservation Society and the Open Days manned by volunteers. Although admission is free, donations are always welcome to help with the Society’s invaluable work.
The windmill on Beacon Hill is a familiar landmark between Roedean and Rottingdean. It is a Grade 2 listed smock-mill dating from 1802 and was built for Thomas Beard, a member of an old Rottingdean family.
Smock-mills were traditionally weather-boarded with six or eight sloping sides and a revolving cap which allowed the sails to take advantage of the wind. They were given this name because of their resemblance to a farmer’s smock.
Rottingdean mill was used to grind local corn into flour for village bakers. In 1877 the miller was George Nicholls. His young son Harry went around the village each day delivering hot rolls before going to school.
Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ wife Georgiana records seeing the mill working in 1880. However, by the end of that century, its only use was as a changing room for the cricketers-who played on Beacon Hill until the First World War.
The mill’s disrepair resulted in many efforts by landowners and villagers to preserve it. The machinery was removed and an internal steel framework fitted to hold the structure together. In 2001 a £40,000 Heritage Lottery Grant enabled the sails, or “sweeps” as they are known, to be restored. The current Trustees of the mill are The Rottingdean Preservation Society.
Rottingdean mill has been known internationally since the artist Sir William Nicholson produced a woodcut of it. His design was used as the trademark for Heinemann publishers and has appeared on their books since 1897.