Rex Wailes Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 3132 REXW
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      48 boxes and albums of varying size

Scope and Content

Images and documents on windmills and watermills in various regions of the UK, Europe and the USA. Includes material on the sugar mills of Barbados.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rex Wailes (1901-1986) was considered the leading mill expert of his day. By profession an engineer, he made windmills the subject of lifelong study, acting as consultant and advisor for mill repairs and restoration throughout Britain and elsewhere in the world. He played an important role in the formation of the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and trained many others in the study of mills, as well as acting as a consultant in the wider field of Industrial Archaeology. For a longer biography of Rex Wailes, see the Profiles section of our website.


By region, by mill and by theme.

Conditions Governing Access

Available to all readers by appointment at The Mills Archive, Reading. We are open Monday to Friday from 10am-3pm.

Archivist's Note

Collection level description revised by Luke Bonwick and Nathanael Hodge, 2012.

Conditions Governing Use

Printed and high resolution copies of photographs can be made available, subject to a charge. Please see our website for details.

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Custodial History

On his death in 1986, the majority of Rex Wailes's collection was donated to the National Monuments Record (now the English Heritage Archive) and the Science Museum. A large amount of material however remained in Rex's shed, and was retrieved by Alan Stoyel and kept by him until transfer to The Mills Archive in 2004. Other material had been given to the SPAB Mills Section or to other researchers - when these collections came to The Mills Archive, Rex Wailes material was identified and moved to the Rex Wailes Collection.


Additional material will progressively be added as it is donated, or is identified in other collections.

Related Material

The Science Museum holds a large collection of Rex Wailes's material. A collection of his photographs is held by the English Heritage Archive (Reference No. WAI01).