Copperas Lane, Haigh
Part of Group: No
At Risk: No
Historic England Ref: 86 (Link)
Windmill. Mid C19. For the brewery of J. Sumner
In 1838, Sumner the proprietor of Haigh Brewery, requested William Peace, the Chief Mining agent to the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, to install a pumping plant to deliver water from two ponds in a nearby field to the brewery reservoir. The latter held 56,000 gallons which was a months consumption. Peace calculated that a pump with a four inch diameter ram and stroke of two feet would be suitable. Further calculations by Peace showed that a pump of this size working at ten strokes a minute for four days would fill the resevoir. In fact, if a windmill was built to work the pump as he recommended, four windy days a month would suffice. Only a small windmill would be required to lift the water the 36 foot difference in height between the ponds and the brewery tank and there was a model of such a windmill at Haigh Hall. Some time previously the water in the ponds had been analysed and found suitable for the purpose of brewing.
Apart from the consideration of running costs, a windmill was preferable to a steam engine to drive the pump as, with it being so near to Haigh Hall, a smokey chimney was undesireable. Lord Crawford had complained about the 'vast column of black smoke' emitted from the brewery chimney and he was trying to devise a method of consuming the smoke at the boilers.
The 2 inch diameter pipes required between the windmill and the brewery would cost five shillings a yard. Peace considered that it was advisable to install the pump below ground level " to guard it from frost and mischievous boys".
Nothing came of this scheme however until June 1845, when Glover the land agent and clerk of the works in charge of the rebuilding of Haigh Hall and the erection of the many other new buildings on the estate wrote to Lord Crawford as follows:
Sumner is about to commence his windmill. It will be 27 feet to the top in height, 13 feet in diameter at the bottom, and 9 feet at the top. I am not aware that Varty mentioned this to your Lordship, but I do not see any objection to the structure for he intends to make it neat.
Since there was a considerable surplus of water it was decided to supply Haigh Hall and some of the houses and cottages on the estate from the brewery resevoir and a 3" diameter lead main, with branches, was laid for this purpose. After 1865 there was also an agreement with the Wigan Coal and Iron Company for a supply of water from the meadow Pit at the North end of Riley lane whenever the windmill broke down.
In 1872 the Wigan Rural Sanitary Authority was set up under the Public Health Act of 1872 and this Authority was charged with providing a public water supply to the householders and industries of Haigh and the other constituent districts.
When this came into being, the brewery took the water it required from the Authority and after 1895, from the Wigan Rural District Council, so that the windmill was no longer required. In any case, the brewery closed before the second world war and since that time the windmill was redundant.