Sunday, 16 March 2008

The Winding House

In my search for a local wood (within 6 miles of the house) as the Crow (or Rook) flies I've passed this building on several occasions. At first sight it looks similar to many buildings found in water works and at reservoirs, but there are no water works here.

The building is in fact called the "Winding House" and was built around 1906, but it was for the coal industry, not water. The industry was expanding in Kent and there was a race to discover new seams of coal.

The Winding House was built for a private mining company set up to extract coal from seams surrounding Waldershare Park, the home of the Earl of Guildford. The Guildford Colliery, as it was called, closed in the 1920s without ever bringing any coal up because of difficulties with transport, a shortage of housing and flooding. The coal seam in Waldershare Park was eventually reached from the colliery at Tilmanstone.

The Winding House and another unidentified building. shown above, that can be seen from it are all that remain of the colliery venture. For nearly a century the Winding House was abandoned, forlornly dominating its rural surroundings. It has now been, or is in the process of being converted into what must be an incredibly interesting house, with huge windows, five floors and a large swimming pool. Before being renovated it was in a poor state, covered in graffiti. Inside there was a burnt out car, several old fridges and all the windows were bricked up. It had even been used as a setting for a horror movie. Using such a notable building and maintaining its historic exterior while creating a modern house inside is a wonderful project.

No bird report today, but I did catch just two moths, one being the very attractive Oak Beauty below.

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