Bob's Mellor Mill Diary
Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
Copyright R H-T ©
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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.
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
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.
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.
Bob 20th April 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.
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.