Bob's Mellor Mill Diary
Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
Copyright R H-T ©
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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.
Well what a mixed weekend that was. Saturday was so foul, with temperatures below zero and a wind that cut through you 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
Inner (top) and outer lintels over tunnel from
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.
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
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
Come and see what we are doing !
The Mellor Mill project enjoys about 200 visitors each weekend. The 'digging volunteers' have found the need to be supported by volunteers willing to be 'Tour Guides' around the site. I would love to hear from any of you who may be interested in becoming a Guide. We currently have 4 trained Guides doing a great job. However, so that we are not asking the same people every weekend, it would be great to have about 8 more.
(photo: A.M.Procter, sourced from Marple Virtual tour,with thanks)
I will be running Training and Update sessions (for established and budding Guides) on Thursday 7th March at 10.30 am and Friday 15th March at 3 pm. Other Training and Update sessions will be arranged as required in the future.
If you would like to come along and see what it is all about and how you might help then just turn up, in stout footwear and appropriate clothing, to one of the sessions. If the dates are not convenient please let me know so that an alternative can be organised.
The Guides are split into 4 half day sessions (two Saturday and two Sunday) with the morning session being 10 am - 1 pm and the afternoon 1 pm - 4 pm. Each Guide is provided with a comprehensive folder of information and images.
Mellor Well Dressing
I pleased to be able to tell you that the theme for this year's Mellor Well Dressing will be Mellor Mill. This will be a great opportunity to promote the industrial heritage of our area to a large number of people. The Well Dressing will take place as part of Mellor Fete on Saturday 29th June. If you Google Mellor Well Dressing 2013 you will see that it is listed on many sites throughout Midlands and North West.
Best wishes to all and if you haven't been down to Mellor Mill for a while you will be in for a big surprise - we are moving on at a pace and work has continued throughout the winter. So even if you have decided the weather isn't quite warm enough for you to continue volunteering do come and have a look and catch up with the action.
A 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.
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.