Bob's Mellor Mill Diary
Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
Copyright R H-T ©
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John Riley had e-mailed: There was no road from Bottom's Hall to Marple Bridge until after 1867. [Burdett's 1791 map shows a road that appears to cross the site of the mill – jh] Any Mill on the site was accessed via a dead end road from the Hall. Studying the photo of the 'Corn Mill ' and allowing for foreshortening the south elevation is clearly not symmetrical this fact and that of the location of the chimney on plan, which is extremely unusual, suggests the building had been modified at one end. Striking a line parallel with the eastern gable from the chimney/ridge down and an extension of the eaves gives a notional corner for the Mill , which would make a symmetrical elevation. Was this the elevation before an alteration to accommodate the new road between the Bridge, the Mill yard and Bottom's Hall?
I also note that there is a doorway, in the centre of that elevation, which has been partly built up in stone to leave a window. To access that doorway would require a flight of steps - were they removed to make way for the "new" road?
Also I have asked John H. if he would send me an electronic copy of the 2009 Salford report since we seem to need to dip into it so often as these questions arise. Richard, who is now excavating the Waterloo to Mellor Mill tunnel entrance will be most interested to read the Derbyshire cavers report which is comprehensive in their explorations of various tunnels. The infill he has encountered is clearly one of the manhole access points and maybe within the western promontory of the building. I am down on site tomorrow to clear spoil heaps so that we can make progress this weekend. Whilst I have a digger at my disposal (only tomorrow - Friday) is there anywhere you would like me to investigate?
Are you going to pop down this weekend?
I have been looking at data which place the output of the Wellington wheel at about 50 HP (I thought I had heard 120 HP) and the total from all 3 wheels at 120 HP. Since the Waterloo is smaller than the Wellington - say 35 HP - then that would bring in the corn mill one in at about 35 HP. This falls in nicely with John's (Riley) observations about the size of the corn mill tail race. We also need to ask why the corn mill wheel house was widened so that it later was contiguous with the gable of the mill. Was that a modification to put in a larger wheel? We don't seem to know the date of the corn mill only that it was different in that it was stone built. Could it have pre-dated Mellor mill? Later modified? Post dated the mill? Change of use from flour for bread to flour to be used as size for weavers - it was on the flood plain of the Goyt a great place to grow corn? Enough I'll leave you with that for now. Send me your thoughts please.
I have looked for the word wheelpit in several references and I think I can say with confidence that no such word exists. Looks like it is going to be a great weekend for down at the wheel pit. [We had queried whether it was "wheelpit" or "wheel pit" - John.]
The work down at Mellor Mill is progressing and lots of exciting things are being discovered about the building and how it worked. However, we are just not getting sufficient support to really get going this Spring - do come on down and spend a few hours any weekend between 9am and 3pm Saturday or Sunday. We are now working on the main foundations of the mill and beginning to make sense of the building footprint. Of course over 100 years things changed and the information we have from paintings and maps is not necessarily the way it all was on the day of the fire. It is only recently we discovered the use of the area underneath the front staircase as a "day stable for visitors" and there is much more to discover. We are averaging 3 or 4 volunteers per day each weekend which is poor considering there are over 50 with a registered interest. If for any reason you are no longer interested please let me know and I will remove you from the mailing list.
Hope to see you soon.
I am an ex DC in Greater Manchester East Scout County.
I am currently the project manager for an Industrial Archaeological conservation programme taking place at Mellor Mill, Stockport. The site is in rural setting and only 5 minutes walk from Linnet Clough Scout Campsite which is run by Great Manchester East Scout County.
The project is to reveal the foundations, basements and cellars of a 1790 cotton spinning mill built by entrepreneur Samuel Oldknow.
The work of exposing these features and conserving them is carried out, in the main by volunteers.
It has struck me that there is an opportunity for Scouts and Explorers to take advantage of having a well appointed scout campsite next to this important site. We, Mellor Archaeological Trust, would like to propose offering 4 day courses for interested scouts (either 2 weekends or 4 consecutive days - dates not yet decided) to work alongside experienced archaeologists and gain the Scout Heritage Badge under alternative A.
There would be no charge by Mellor Archaeological Trust for the course and (I guess) standard camping fees would be required by Linnet Clough Scout Campsite.
If you feel this offer would be suitable as an article for your magazine please contact me and I will put something together immediately. I can also include photographs for the article.