No sails for Sea Cadets at windmill HQ

The windmill in West Street, Dunstable
The windmill in West Street, Dunstable

The windmill in West Street, Dunstable, was built in 1839 for local landowner Richard Gutteridge.

It still stands there today, minus its sails, and is used as the splendid headquarters for Dunstable Sea Cadets.

Another, much older, windmill also once stood in West Street, but this was in the Meadway area.

The tower is about 60 feet high and contains five storeys.

The sails were removed in 1908 after the mill owner discovered that it was more reliable to grind corn using steam power. The chimney from the furnace for this can be seen in this photo, taken when both wind and steam were being used.

This all ceased just before the Second World War, when the building was used as an observation post by the Home Guard.

It became the headquarters of the Sea Cadets in 1948. Admiral Sir Lionel Preston, who moved to live in Dunstable (in High Street North) in 1935, had been instrumental in forming a Sea Cadets unit as part of the Pioneer Boys Club in 1942.

And when the Sea Cadets eventually gained their own building it was named Training Ship Lionel Preston in his honour. Sir Lionel died in 1971.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.