Bob's Mellor Mill Diary

Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
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Bob's Mill Diary - Saturday 7th March 2015

The Big Digger-Bobs Big One

It is now OFFICIAL  "Bob has got a BIG ONE" 

After months of searching a suitable 13 ton JCB excavator was recently found in the Greater Manchester area.  It has been hard with diggers getting sold from under my feet before I even had a chance to look at them.  Anyway we now have one which arrived on 5th March.  An interesting delivery as by the time the low loader transport arrived at Goyt Bridge it was already dark so tracking along to the mill to park it up was difficult trying to avoid overhanging branches and squeezing in through the 5 bar gate onto the site.  It was all completed by 8pm and we went home to ready ourselves for Friday's excitement - our cabins were going to arrive.  Rachel and I were down on site to finally prepare the ground for the arrival of our welfare cabin and a storage container for the hand tools.  About 11am we were ready to lift the welfare cabin, off the back of a trailer, using the digger as a crane.  It slotted beautifully into place.  It was then off back across the river with the digger and trailer to pick up the second cabin/container.  This is on loan, at no charge, for the duration of the project to act as storage for our hand tools Thanks must got to Kevin Swindells for his support in lending this container to us. Today (Saturday 7th March) we have been busy moving our hand tools from their temporary coal cellar location into their new home. Once that was completed it was back to the dig and the never ending clearing of spoil heaps - I think they grow on their own!

Bob's Mill Diary - Saturday 18th October 2014

Rachel On The Blower!

It takes many skills to be an Archaeologist! Autumn is upon us and the leaves are falling.  After the problems last Spring of cleaning up the dig areas we have decided to give them a thorough blasting with the leaf blower and cover up with sheeting. Hopefully we will be able to reveal good clean areas next Spring.  We are always on the look out for volunteers to carry out light gardening type work.  Fancy offering your services then contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bob's Mill Diary-Wednesday 10th September 2014

I recently had a postcard delivered to my house.  It was sent from Australia by one of our volunteers who is on holiday there.  Amazingly the 'postie' managed to work out from the address below that it was intended for me and delivered it.  Aren't they just great?

Bob's Mill Diary - Monday 4th August 2014

The Challenge Twelve


Well, July 28th will be a date to remember.  We finally received our "Permission to Start" from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  It has been a long, and at times a frustrating, journey.  Still we are there now and we can look forward to moving on at a pace with the Revealing Oldknow's Legacy Project.  Very soon we should be able to get some welfare facilities on site, purchase an excavator and make the job look like a professional archaeological dig. 

In the meantime we have been busy.  During July we had a group of eight A Level Archaeology Students from Aquinas College join us for a week closely followed by a group of twelve young people from The Challenge Project.  We are looking forward to having another 12 young people from The Challenge join us on the 12th August.  Young muscle is always very welcome! 

We also have Carlos Blanco, (right) a Spanish history student from Barcelona University, digging with us for the whole of August.  Carlos is keen to learn more about British Industrial Archaeology and asked me if he could be a volunteer.  It was also good to welcome ten members of Aquinas Staff who spent a day working on the stable area at the front of the mill.  Of course, we have also had our regular dig volunteers working at the weekends and our volunteer guides who do such a magnificent job showing our visitors around.

The Aquinas Staff

The Aquinas Students

The next event to look forward to is Oldknow's Day of Fact and Fun down at the Roman Lakes and the Mellor Mill Site on the 7th September - make sure YOU don't miss it.

Bob's Mill Diary - Thursday 17th July 2014

Metal Detectors Help In Dig

Stockport Metal Detecting Club have agreed to be our official metal detectorists. We welcome them as part of our wider team of volunteers. All the club members work to a nationally recognised code of practice and carry an ID card identifying them a bona fide members of the SMDC.

Since the nature of our dig at Mellor Mill involves using machinery to remove the bulk of the spoil it is inevitable that many small finds will be missed. By partnering with SMDC we will be able to recover many of those missed objects - every find they discover is a bonus for us. One unlikely detected object, discovered by Colin Wilson yesterday, was this glass jar which was buried next to the most westerly stone gatepost at the entrance to the stables and coach house.  I had earlier commented that there will still be many glass and pottery finds missed as there isn't yet a machine capable of detecting them. The jar was unearthed because it was full of galvanised fencing staples!  Colin also found the gate latch plate from the eastern gatepost. Last weekend a number of George V and Elizabeth II coins were found by SMDC members. However,we are still waiting to find a George III coin.