Blue Flower

The water wheel is 16 feet in diameter (4.9m), 9 ft 6 ins wide (2.9m) with a 6 inch (15cm) main shaft running in two bronze half bearings. It has 45 pairs of buckets and 27 spokes. It is a breastshot wheel, meaning it was fed with water from about half way up, controlled by a curved sliding metal hatch to regulate the speed. It produced about 26 horsepower.

Where the wheel came to rest for around a century meant that on one side the buckets filled with water and rusted severely, and on the other side where they were upside down water flowed off them and these were preserved.

Contractors carried out the steel work on the water wheel using Corten steel which rusts slightly on the outside to blend in with original material, but does not corrode through.

One of the good buckets was removed and used as a pattern to fabricate new parts. Only the corroded buckets were replaced, many were in good condition and were kept. The buckets consist of two curved sections per position, side by side, and one flat piece which goes the full width of the wheel on the inside.

The volunteers removed a large amount of soil and rubble in the upward facing buckets and inside the bottom of the wheel, which had to be removed by hand.

When the parts were made and brought to site, they had to be replaced two to three sections at a time. If too many sections were removed together there was a risk of the wheel going out of shape. This would have made it impossible to get it running true again.

The wheel was partially rotated to ensure the sections to be replaced were in the right place for this work, so oil was put on the bearings and given a chance to soak in, and on 8 July 2015 the wheel was turned for the first time with chains. This gave hope that we could get the wheel turning for our open days.

The river-side bearing cap was removed and used as a pattern to fabricate a replacement for the missing bank-side one. The last replacement paddles were fitted as well as the bearing caps, and on 11 September 2015 the final fittings and bolts were put in place and this completed the steel work.

The only replacement parts are some paddles, one bearing cap, one paddle guide, nuts & bolts, the rest of the wheel structure is original. A gate frame was built on 14/11/15 matching the original guillotine lock frame, in August 2017 a water feed pipe was installed for turning the wheel with a pump and on 18/4/19 a Walkway was fitted in front of the wheel to allow safe viewing of the moving wheel.

See the wheel turning under river power on 3/10/15 and with pump on 10/09/17

Interactive Plan        Blog 10/9/15     Gate Frame     Water Power    HLF Article    Mill History    Brickwork

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