The team today consisted of Colin, Headley, Max and Richard. With a small team we concentrated our efforts on the drainage and once we had moved the redundant acroprops into the stable block we, well Max and Colin, made a start at pulling up the brick floor where we thought the drain ran. Richard and Headley kept up a supply of empty buckets and general banter.
The first surprise was finding a small grating buried in the general clay covering of the brick floor. This covered the opening of the drain pipe that empties into the gear wheel pit and this drain pipe proved to be clear. The surprise was that this grating was in the middle of the wall and can never have handled the worst of the damp that come through further away from the pit.
After a lively discussion we decided to set two concrete gutters along the bottom of the wall, one on either side of the brick buttress, each gutter channelling water to its own drain. Plastic drainpipe makes good formwork for creating gutters in concrete and also makes it easy to check that the fall is OK. Once this was agreed in principle Colin left us to it, citing domestic pressure. After all the cakes that Drene has provided to the team we really can’t complain.
The remaining three team members put the theory to the test and soon had concrete mixed and placed. Both gutters fall in the same direction, from left to right. The one nearest the wheel ends at the drain that goes into the gearwheel pit and the other one goes to the drain that we put in along the side wall, emptying into the culvert outside the mill
Hopefully, this system of gutters and drains will clear any water that does penetrate the walls. It does appear that something like this did exist at one time but subsequent changes reduced the effectiveness of the old system. In particular the large brick buttress is a much later addition to the mill and seems to have blocked the principal drainage route. Time will tell if we have got it somewhere near right.
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