One of the first posts I did on this blog was about an ancient landmark in the hills above Sheffield, Stannage Pole. The link to that post is here. These sorts of projects are always interesting but they don’t come around too often. A year or so ago, we got the opportunity to be involved with another restoration project, this time in the spectacular scenery of The Lake District.
Although tourism and agriculture underpin the economy of The Lake District, the area has an industrial heritage. One of these industries was copper mining. A brief history of it can be found here. As with a lot of ancient industries, the power to operate them came from water. If you’d looked at the various mills and processing plants that made up the Coniston Copper Mines, you’d have seen water wheels dotted about the landscape. As the mines closed, these wheels fell in disrepair and rotted away.
Fortunately, in conjunction with English Heritage, one of them has been rebuilt and we were lucky enough to be chosen to supply the cast iron hubs and rim sections.
To start with, a couple of pictures of the stunning scenery that this project is taking place in.
If you look very carefully, you can just see the water wheel in the middle of the pictures by the side of the stone cottage. Looks quite small, doesn’t it. It’s not really, the wheel being over 10m in diameter. The next pictures gives a much better idea of the size.
Finally, a few images of what it took to make the castings, two centre hubs and twenty six rim sections in grey iron which all went together without the need to drill or machine any fixing positions or boltholes which says something about the skill of the pattern maker who made the patterns.
There’s an article here about the project and I’ve no doubt that the new wheel will be a feature of the landscape around Coniston for many years to come.
Finally, the musical reference that seems to accompany these posts. I must admit, songs about water wheels and copper mines are a bit thin on the ground so I’ve gone for this instead which showcases the beautiful landscape that this wheel sits in. Click here for a tour of the land.
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