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's Mill Diary - Sunday May 12th 2013

Samuel Oldknow lays down the law, before the tour

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


Bob's Mill Diary - Thursday May 9th 2013

Mellor Mill Plan 1876

Mellor Mill Plan 1876

Hi All,                                                                   

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.

We are seeing increasing numbers of visitors to the site and a huge amount of support for our project - all very encouraging. Tomorrow, Friday 10th May will see 20+ visitors to the site from Hazel Grove Local History Society and on Sunday we will be greeting 35+ visitors from Marple Local History Society.  We are still seeking more tour guides for Mellor Mill - so if you think you would like to talk to visitors please let me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Ann Hearle (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) know and we will arrange a training session for you and give you folder of information to use on your tours.

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.

best wishes


Bob's Mill Diary - Saturday April 20th 2013

Hi All,

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.

best wishes,

Bob  20th April 2013

Bob's Mill Diary - April 14/15th week-end 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.

Cast Iron Kettle

Daren bread stencil

 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.

Bob's Mill Diary - 25th March 2013

Well what a mixed weekend that was.  Saturday was so foul, with temperatures below zero and a wind that cut through Awful Weatheryou 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



  Front Door ThresholdLodge Cellar

Inner (top) and outer lintels over tunnel from

the stables.

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.