Bob's Mellor Mill Diary
Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
Copyright R H-T ©
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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.
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 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.
Rachel On The Blower!
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!