Drainage Work at Shelsley Watermill

While John carried on building the brick piers inside the mill, Colin, Derek, the other John and Richard set to work to find the end of the drain from outside the building and connecting it to the culvert. As the ground level outside this part of the watermill is well above the floor level it was a good job we still had the JCB.

By lunchtime we had a large hole in the ground but had not found either the outlet from the building or the culvert. We had found the pipe carrying the wires for the original hillclimb timing system but they just made the search a bit more awkward.

Lunch sitting in the sunshine was a good break, and shortly after lunch we found the top of the culvert. Some hands and knees work at the bottom of the hole eventually located the end of the drainage pipe installed from inside the mill.

All we had to do was to make an opening through the roof of the culvert to take a piece of drain-pipe. Old bricks, soft lime mortar, how hard can it be. Very hard, that’s how. These bricks might be old but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the quality. It took three of us taking turns an hour to break through the two layers of brick. By the time we had made a suitable sized hole we were describing the brick as something other than ‘very’ hard.

Fitting a length of drain was much easier, and with team members taking their leave as the light faded and the temperature dropped Colin and Richard stayed on to backfill the hole with the digger. It was past 5 o’clock by the time the site was safe to leave and the JCB was back in the barn, but we had the satisfaction of knowing that we had some good drainage in place.

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