Donald Muggeridge Collection of Mill Photographs

Scope and Content

This collections comprises some 4000 images of more than 1200 different windmills from around the world.

Administrative / Biographical History

Donald Muggeridge was born in Kent and inherited his father William’s enthusiasm for windmills. When Donald first became interested in mills, there were still more than 200 windmills at work in England. Having been involved in his father’s expeditions to photograph mills, Donald began his own photographic collection from the 1930s. In 1933, Donald met Syd Simmons, a fellow enthusiast, with whom he set off to track down and photograph mills across the country. They also shared information and duplicated photographs taken by one another on separate expeditions.

Donald and his later wife Vera, whom he met in 1936, spent their spare time cycling about the countryside together looking for windmills, watermills, columbariums and direction posts; in fact anything that was part of 'bygone' England. Vera was particularly interested in the furniture of old churches.

Donald succeeded in taking several interior shots, particularly in Essex, Kent and Suffolk, before the advent of the flash bulb. This could only be done by using magnesium ribbon or flash gun, or by relying on natural daylight, an exposure time of about 20 minutes and a small aperture for better definition.

During the war, Donald volunteered and was sent to the Cavalry Barracks in Canterbury but continued his trips in search of mills while he was off-duty. In May 1940, he was on the Dunkirk beaches, but returned without injury to marry Vera in Surrey. Donald returned to Kent in 1943 for officer training, but managed to visit mills within a ten mile radius on foot. While part of the armoured division making its way from Normandy to Berlin, he even managed to take about 400 photos of mills in Belgium, Holland and Germany and returned home in 1946.

Donald, Vera and their son Derek settled in Surrey after the war, but decided to emigrate to Canada in 1956. After losing his job due to a change of government, Donald and his family moved again to California, where both Vera and Donald worked until retirement. Derek became a successful aerospace engineer and is now Associate Vice President of Research and Dean of the Faculty of Science at Okanagan University College in Canada.

Despite living in North America, Donald returned to Britain in 1958, taking pictures of mills in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. In 1961 he continued his research in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire. At Chinnor in Oxfordshire he took another four pictures of the mill he had been snapping since 1932, making a total of 28 photographs of this mill alone over a period of nearly 30 years.

Donald later made available the research into mills of Surrey and Essex which he had been hoping to publish prior to the Second World War. These notes and photographs became a significant contribution to Windmills of Surrey and Inner London by Kenneth G. Farries and Martin T. Mason (Charles Skilton, 1966) and to Farries's five volume unique treatise Essex Windmills, Millers & Millwrights (Charles Skilton, 1981-8). More recently Trevor L. Stainwright drew on Donald's collection of photographs for his Windmills of Northamptonshire & the Soke of Peterborough (WD Wharton, 1991).

Donald has gradually transferred his negatives to the Templeman Library. Prints have been made of the English and Welsh counties from Anglesey to Yorkshire. Donald is a regular correspondent with the Templeman Library, and takes an active part in the work and promotion of the Muggeridge collections.


The images in this collection are arranged by alphabetical order of county.

Access Information

Please note that we do not normally allow users to view the original negatives.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are available on the Special Collections website and prints can be ordered from the Special Collections team.

Please note that the copyright of all images in this collection is owned by the University of Kent.