Bob's Mellor Mill Diary
Bob (Robert Humphrey-Taylor) is leading the excavations at Mellor Mill.
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Spinning Machine Mine
Wow! What a great week end we have just had. Continuing our excavations of the steps at the rear of the mill we have uncovered more and more pieces of spinning machines. As the photograph shows the finds are extensive. John Glithero, our expert on mill machines was down over the weekend wheeling barrows of spoil away from the dig - if we pulled out another piece of machinery whilst he was away tipping his barrow he was jogging back to take a look as soon as he noticed it. I have to say we are now gettiing a bit blasé about cog wheels and spindles as there are so many in this one small area of the dig - it is probably less than 5% of the total. We are going to need a large warehouse at this rate.
Pictured below is the largest piece of machinery recovered so far. It is thought to be the input drive of a spinning machine (identification is ongoing) you can clearly see the pulley over which a drive belt would have passed. It is good that this is supporting theories that many pieces of machinery would not have been recovered by the scrap merchants, following the fire in November 1892, if they were difficult to get at. i.e. below ground level.
Four MAT trustees signed the 25 year lease for the land at Mellor Mill today. The lease is a requirement of gaining "permission to start" from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We can now look forward to getting on with the excavations in ernest. I'm sure 3 years will soon slip by !
During the last two weekends we have managed to excavate, a hitherto unknown, stone staircase leadng into the semi basement of the mill at the rear northern end of the central six storey build. The stair look splendid and we hope that they will eventually form a way into the semi basement and main drive shaft ares of the mill for visitors. It is looking likely that this staircase was constructed sometime after 1867 and before 1883. A number of cogwheels and spinning spindles were unearthed which it is believed came from ring spinning machines. Additionally a large number of well rotted shoes covered each tread of the stairs and the floor at the bottom - this looks like a case of fly tipping taking place after the 1892 fire and before the mill is finally demolished some years later.
We were very pleased to welcome back Aquinas College 'A' level Archaeology students to the dig last Friday. They worked really hard, clearing and excavating an area around the southern staircase. We look forward to welcoming six students from Aquinas for their work experience week, 4th - 11th July, when they hope to complete the work on the southern staircase.
Much excitement down at Mellor Mill last weekend as we took delivery of somewhere to make a brew and shelter from the rain. Many thanks to friends who helped us move our shed from Roman Lakes to the mill. It was a thrilling journey on the flat bed trailer behind the tractor.