Blue Flower

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.

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

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

The volunteers had a lot of work to do as well. There was a large amount of soil and rubble in the upward facing buckets and in 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 more than three sections were removed there was a risk of the wheel going out of shape. This would have made it almost impossible to get it running true again.

It was necessary to partially rotate the wheel 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. This was a very significant occasion because it meant the wheel can be turned for special events such as open days and guided tours.

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. On 18/4/19 a new Walkway was fitted in front of the wheel to allow safe viewing.

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

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