Bob's Mellor Mill Diary
Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
Copyright R H-T ©
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Mellor Mill Plan 1876
I have been so busy recently that I haven't managed to put any new content in 'Bob's Mill Diary' on the website or send you, our volunteers, any information. The project management team are very busy getting the final bits of information together for our HLF Stage 2 submission which is due to be handed over to The Heritage Lottery Fund Officers on 28th May. We are getting there, despite deadlines being very tight, and we have every confidence that we will make a quality submission.
Recently a new plan of Mellor Mill was discovered. The plan dates from 1876. One interesting feature, which we will start to investigate this coming weekend, is a small building to the south of the gas retort house. This building has not appeared on any other plans or maps either prior to 1876 or after. What was it's purpose? We don't know but we will do our best to find out!
I have spent part of today with a Landscape Architect planning pathways and railings for our project.
I am attaching a copy of the 1876 plan, above, for you to study and, hopefully, enjoy.
I look forward to seeing you down at the Mill site - every weekend, anytime, between 10 am and 4 pm.
On Sunday, thirty seven intrepid souls, of the Marple Local History Society, braved the delightful spring weather, 2013 style, to partake in a bespoke tour of Mellor Mill. Splitting into three parties, led by Ann Hearle, Don Reid and Samuel Oldknow (me!), they were taken round the ever increasing revelations of the site and learned of its history. These successful tours were finished off with a welcome tea and cake at the Roman Lakes Cafe, and an opportunity to handle some of the discovered artefacts. Ann and I had barely dried out from taking 20 members of The Hazel Grove Local History Society around the site two days before when it also rained throughout the tour!
Photo: (Copyright) Arthur Procter
Samuel Oldknow has filed a report, reviewing the Society members visit to Mellor Mill, on the Marple Local History Society website, here is a taster…..
From our eighteenth century correspondent
We came up with a long narrow building, six storeys high. By making it only 33 feet wide and 400 feet long, we could get as much light as possible into each floor and we needed that because of the thin cotton thread we were working with. My masterstroke was to have the water wheel in the centre of the building and the water going straight through, from the millpond, through the breast shot wheel then into the Goyt.
To read more, go here….Samuel Oldknow's report
The last couple of weekends has seen a lot of progress being made at the NNE corner of the mill and further over into the Boiler House and Engine House. The weather has been quite kind to us at weekends and just like the wild garlic our volunteer numbers grew! Now that the stage 2 HLF bid has been submitted I am able to settle back down to the practicalities. Whatever the outcome of the bid we will be sticking to our programme in terms of the areas of the site we excavate. Area 'A' - the main mill site - will be our first focus with areas 'B' - the ancillary buildings by the river - and area 'C' - Mellor Lodge - will follow on once all excavation and conservation work has been completed at 'A'. There is much to do and still a lot to discover.
The flue of the economiser which pre-heated the water entering the boilers and thus saved coal
|Back wall of the mill||
Volunteers work on the huge stone steam engine beds
footnote: In 1860 a new building, at the northern end of the main mill building, was constructed to house two steam engines and boilers, installed by Benjamin Goodfellow, a Hyde engineer, from this building a long tunnel flue connected to a chimney, up the hill behind. The installation of steam was such a notable event that a celebration dinner was held in the Navigation Inn, Marple, after the trial run of the boilers and engines, for managers and overlookers.
Things are moving on at Mellor Mill
We have now settled down after submitting our stage 2 bid to HLF. We will hear the result in September.
The focus now is to complete the first building. That is the Boiler House and Engine House at the North end of the main Mill Complex. You will see from the photographs that things are moving on very well with much of the engine beds and the boiler supporting brickwork already exposed and ready for conservation.
There have been ten students from Aquinas on work experience down at the mill this week, plus the weekenders workers, together they made much progress, thanks.
We still meet at the site every Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 4pm for volunteer sessions.
Look forward to seeing you down there.
The following video is trial video, we hope to incorporate more videos on the website.
The Chris Mann video of the Official Opening of the Wellington Wheel Pit can be seen on the website here
Whilst excavating in the coal store area, of the boiler house, we came across some unlikely bits of car. We have a steering box, a brake and clutch pedal and part of a steering rack. After much deliberation, maybe 30 seconds, the general consensus was that they are unlikely to be contemporaneous with the coal store!!
A rather more exciting find was this drain in the coal store area. (left) It had been carefully blocked off using black mortar and that had ensured it was well preserved from the elements. The boiler and engine house have proved to be very exciting and considerably more complex that had been anticipated.
This part of a 'Fire Bar' (right) was discovered in the Boiler House. These would have been slotted in under the boiler to form a base for the coal fire. Dr. John Glithero identified and cleaned up the fire bar. Dr. Glithero is past president of the Manchester Association of Engineers.