On a visit to Brixton Windmill in July 2012, George Layzell of Crawley in West Sussex gave us a copy of some of the research he has done into his family tree.
“My great great grandfather Walter Layzell was connected to four Surrey windmills – he lived at Warlingham, he married Mary Ann Vigar whose parents lived at both Nutfield and Reigate and in 1856 was a miller’s man of Cornwell Street, Brixton Hill.
“There is nothing to prove he worked at Warlingham, Outwood or Reigate Windmills but on 1 December 1856 he was working at Brixton Windmill. A few months later he had become a brewer’s labourer and had moved to Stockwell Green.
“During detailed research I ordered the 1856 birth certificate of a possible son, Walter Thomas Layzell, who died in infancy in 1857 at Reigate. The certificate showed Walter Thomas Layzell was indeed his son, born on 1 December 1856 at 15 Cornwell Street, Brixton Hill, and the occupation of Walter Layzell was ‘a miller’s man’.
“This was intriguing, as all later records show Walter Layzell worked for a brewery company. Then in a library book containing old London maps I found in Cornwall Road there stood a windmill!
“The death certificate of Walter Thomas Layzell showed he died aged four months of pneumonia on 19 April 1857 while staying with his grandfather Thomas Vigar at Warwick Road, Reigate, and his father Walter Layzell was a brewer’s labourer.
“When his only daughter Emma Layzell was born in 1858 he lived at 3 Brewery Place, Stockwell Green, and was still a brewer’s labourer.
“Walter Layzell moved to Camberwell in 1861 working as a brewer’s drayman, where my great grandfather was born in 1862 and where he died in 1877 aged 43 years of malignant scarlatina.”