Tuesday, 9 October 2012

WADIHS Weekend - part 1

Watford and District Industrial History Society ,of which I have been a member for over 30 years, organise a study weekend once a year.  This year the subject was the mining industries around Chester and Wrexham.
As a pre-cursor to the weekend some of us visited Hooton Park Airfield. Vauxhall built their  Ellesmere Port factory on the site of the former WWI and WWII airfield in 1962. 
We were there to see the hangers built in 1917 using the lightweight wooden roof construction developed in Belfast - called, unsurprisingly, Belfast Trusses.  There are a few examples of these extant.    We were guests of The Griffin Trust who used to run the popular air shows at Hooton Park but is now struggling to keep afloat. 

As often happens, the involvement of English Heritage in the preservation of these buildings resulted in delays during which the structures deteriorated: in fact one hanger has now collapsed.

On Saturday morning we went for a ride on the Anderton Lift. This cathedral of the waterways was the first such structure when it was built in 1875.  The caissons transfer boats from the River Weaver up to the Trent & Mersey Canal and vice-versa.  It was originally hydraulic powered but corrosion of the cast iron components caused problems and it was converted to electric power in 1908.  About 70 years later it was declared unsafe and closed once again.  This time a public appeal was launched and with Heritage Lottery Fund assistance it was converted back to hydraulic power and reopened in 2002. It now uses hydraulic fluid to avoid the corrosion risk of the salty River Weaver .

On our way to Anderton we arranged to visit Walk Mill.  

This ex fulling watermill has been rebuilt to grind flour from wheat grown in the fields around it. They also make and sell bread and have a lovely tea room serving cakes etc baked with their flour.

The machinery was acquired from various mills around the country which were in the process of being converted to houses
 The undershot water wheel, on the other hand, had to be built specially.

Being in the watermill frame of mind it was not surprising that we found two redundant mills opposite each other on our way  to Walk Mill.


And this one had two waterwheels

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be removed if considered inappropriate