Image: Copyright © London Borough of Lambeth/ Lambeth Archives
Windmills were once a familiar feature of London’s landscape and the most powerful machines of the pre-industrial world. Brixton Windmill is a tangible reminder to all Londoners of the close links that the capital had with agriculture and food production.
Although there were probably mills in the area in the Middle Ages, the earliest evidence of a windmill in Lambeth dates from the 16th century. At least 12 sites have existed, though the maximum number of mills at any one time was at the beginning of the 19th century, when there were five working in Lambeth, including Brixton Windmill.
As London expanded in the mid-19th century, building development overtook the agricultural land and fields of the borough, and most windmills were lost.