Shelsley Mill - 24th August 2006

Shelsey watermill in August 2006

As us boys get older we like to play with bigger toys. Building clocks is a good hobby and keeps me indoors in the winter but for really big gear wheels you have to have a watermill, and now I've found one.

Not just me, of course, but the Shelsley Watermill Society. When the Midland Automobile Club negotiated the lease renewal of the world famous hill climb venue the farm buildings were included in the new lease and this old watermill was included.

Many MAC members did not know that the mill even existed as it was so overgrown and hidden but a group of people have got together with the aim of getting the mill working again and making it available for educational purposes. The mill-pools will also be restored and it is hoped will form a reserve for wildlife.

There is an awful lot of work to be done, but a start has been made. The wheel is iron, with cast iron shaft and spokes and sheet steel buckets. As you can imagine these have rusted a bit since the mill last worked in the 1920's. Just restoring the wheel is going to take a lot of time and effort but before we can do that we need to recreate the mill's tailrace and drain the wheel pit. This seems to have been filled in in the 1960's judging by the rubbish we have found when we started digging.

Some very basic historical research reveals that there was a mill in the locality in 1308 so we will probably celebrate the 700th anniversary in 2008 if only to raise funds!

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