Work on the tailrace archway.

Tuesday and Thursday this week were spent building up from the archway over the tailrace. Our usual reporter was absent on Tuesday with some feeble excuse about not being able to speak, so this entry in the diary will have to cover both days.

Derek and Martyn had already constructed the arch over the water channel, but the finished wall needs to be up to the level of the ground at the farmyard side of the mill. The facing is being built of recovered bricks to match the original building, while the load of the backfill will be onto concrete block-work.

Nearly everyone has made some contribution to this structure, with Derek, Martyn and Max all laying bricks or blocks. Colin, Richard and Dave have all mixed mortar and carried bricks and blocks.

Once this archway and wall is complete we will be able to backfill the roadway and put up scaffolding to get at the roof and the upper windows. We will get the backfill from the bank at the side of the waterwheel that needs to be lowered while we repair that wall.

Other jobs that have been done this week include the final (we hope) re-assembly of the gate-valve that controls the flow of water from the pool. This is basically a very big tap on a pipe twelve inches across and provides very coarse control of the flow of water to the waterwheel.

The missing control valve

Fine control of the water flow is provided by an arrangement of levers from inside the mill to the sluice box. Unfortunately some of the parts of this valve are missing and we are not sure what the missing parts looked like or how they worked. What we have is a letterbox shaped slot that needs to be opened and closed progressively but no idea of the shape and thickness of the valve that must have covered the slot. We can’t even make up our minds about whether the valve slides up and down or rotates. If anyone out there has any ideas we would love to hear from you.

Some work has also been done inside the mill making sure that the bottom bearing of the centre-post will stay where we have put it. The thought of all that timber wandering off by itself when the mill is running is enough to make strong men cringe!

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