Bob's Mellor Mill Diary

Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
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Bob's Mill Diary - 11th March 2013

Close-up of 1921 pennyA great, if a bit chilly, weekend at the mill.  We have been continuing to uncover a wall of the Mechanic's Shop and in the course of doing that out came a piece of 'slag' with a 1921 penny embedded in it.  The workshops down by the river continued to be used for their original purposes after the disastrous fire at the mill in 1892. As late as the 1920's two hearths remained in the blacksmith's shop, and one of these was a small nail-makers hearth with the anvil and suspended swinging seat. There was also an engineers' workshop, and Oldknow’s papers in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, mention a cutting engine and fluting engine in the Engine Room, and a lathe in the Turning Room, although it is not certain if this refers to Mellor Mill or Stockport Mill.

We are now working very hard to meet our deadlines for a part two submission to HLF by May for the major funding of £1.3M.




Rachel uncovering Mechanics Workshop wall

1921 penny in slag

On Sunday Chris Walters, our  Webmaster, came on site for a long promised update. We made a complete tour of the site. Chris was pleasantly surprised at the work which has gone on in recent months.

  Bob apologizes for having got his finger in the way of the shot! 

Why not come down and see some of the amazing progress which has been made recently and get yourself updated on the amazing story of Mellor Mill and how it transformed the tiny hamlet of Marple into a 'hive of industry' and eventually created the town we know and love today.

1921 penny obverse

1921 penny reverse

Bob's Mill Diary - 18th March 2013





We have finally identified the passageway between the Saw Pit and the Mechanic's Shop. It is about 8 feet wide.

This is the last trial trench we will need down at the ancillary buildings. Next is Mellor Lodge to complete all the site trenches.

Picture: The trench is across the passageway. In the foreground is the corner of the Mechanic's shop and across the trench is the corner of the saw pit





 Clay Pipes

Clay Pipes

I was chatting to Rachel yesterday about there being a good chance of finding pieces of clay pipe around the ancillary buildings. And, here we are today with two pieces of stem already. It would be good to find a pipe bowl we can date!

Picture: the sections of clay pipes found

Bob's Mill Diary - 25th March 2013

Well what a mixed weekend that was.  Saturday was so foul, with temperatures below zero and a wind that cut through Awful Weatheryou like a knife, that we made the decision to abandon the idea of working down at the mill site. 

Saturday 23rd Horrible - no work


However, Sunday though still cold was much better.  The wind wasn't as stiff and temperatures were a tadge above freezing.  So Rachel and Bob got to work on the area where we thought the front door of "Mellor Lodge" would have been.  By the afternoon we had found the inner and outer lintels which spanned the tunnel coming across from the stable block on the other side of the road. Next we managed to break through from the surface into the tunnel - a great day’s work.



Sunday 24th much better - work



  Front Door ThresholdLodge Cellar

Inner (top) and outer lintels over tunnel from

the stables.

The Front door of Mellor Lodge would have been

above these lintels.

Cellar level plan of Mellor Lodge –

we have been working on the front 

semi-circular area, (between those two

parallel lines in the centre at the bottom)


  For clarity a picture of Mellor Lodge. Mellor & Marple Lodges were built by Oldknow for the housing of the Mill Manager (Marple) and himself (Mellor)in 1794. Note semi-circular front.

Pictured sourced, with thanks, from

Mellor Lodge, was demolished in 1949, serving as a girls school in the 1930's, but was then the subject of vandalism.



Bob's Mill Diary - April 14/15th week-end 2013

Bob,after well -earned holiday, returned to work at the Mill. Much hard work is now going on behind the scenes with the final stages of the HLF application. Many thanks to Bob for finding the time to write this entry

And here is his eagerly awaited report on the week-end that at last, spring sprung.

We had a wonderful weekend with sunshine, lots of visitors and exceptional numbers of volunteers.  Amazing what a difference a few degrees makes!

We have been busy excavating at the front of Mellor Lodge.  We are helped by a set of drawings of Mellor Lodge by a Mr Dixon.  There are some intriguing features suggested by the drawings but we will have to wait until we have the funding to "dig deeper"!  For now we have uncovered the area below the front door, a section of the right hand front bay and a considerable length of the left front hand bay.

Next weekend will see us conducting a group of scouts from Warrington around the site.

Cast Iron Kettle

Daren bread stencil

 We have a couple of interesting finds, though probably not directly connected with Samuel Oldknow, one is a cast iron kettle (left above) and the other a metal stencil for DAREN Bread (right above).


Daren bread was a brown, but not wholemeal loaf. It was once a well known style of bread and street adverts for it still exist around the country. Often these adverts emphasise the health benefits of this type of bread and also its suitability for invalids. It was a ‘germ’ bread, rich in wheat germ which increased the level of a number of vital nutrients such as vitamin E, folic acid and various trace elements, essential to health.

Bob's Mill Diary - Saturday April 20th 2013

Hi All,

Another beautiful day down at Mellor Mill.  We have now got another large area of cobbled frontage exposed thank to the enthusiasm of scouts and leaders from 1/14 Warrington Scout Group. Fantastic effort by a really committed group of young people. We hope you will all come back to complete your Scout Heritage Badge.

More work has been done on the frontage of Mellor Lodge - the archaeology is great you just have to come down and see it.

The Management Team are working hard to get a great bid together for the Stage Two Heritage Lottery Fund Bid which has to be submitted by 28th May.

Do come down and visit us - we are moving on at a pace.

We need a Woodland Management Plan - can anybody help?  Please let me know if you have some experience of writing such a plan.

best wishes,

Bob  20th April 2013