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Watermill Blog -  A Busy Day
3rd April 2008

This could be quite a long entry in our watermill blog because a lot seems to have happened today.

The team met much as usual this morning with the sun shining and the birds singing in the trees. A number of members chose to arrive by classic transport, a sure sign that the weather is getting warmer!

We had not long split up to our tasks when Martyn had a message from home to pass on the news that English Heritage had been in touch to tells us that the mill is now a Listed Building in its own right. This clears up a few loose ends and means that we can reclaim VAT on repair expenditure from now on. Written details are expected shortly.

The sack-hoist pulley re-assembledMax and Dave finished re-assembling all the pieces of the sack hoist pulley, and even found a length of rope to give it a test.

We are still not sure how this was driven from the crown wheel on the floor below although everyone agrees that it would have been.

The parts that we assume are missing must have provided some sort of control so that the miller could fasten a sack to the hoist chain at the bottom of the mill and then set the hoist in motion, stopping it again when the sack reached the top floor.

Its a bit of a puzzle!

Outside in the sun, John bricked up the hole in the stable wall that he had started to repair on Tuesday. As ever, he muttered about having to use lime mortar but he seems to be getting used to it. The wall will definitely be a lot stronger now.

Inside the mill, Martyn, Colin and Richard put the finishing touches to the repair to the hurst post. We have now matched the chamfers on the front edges of the timber, another job for the antique shipwright's drawknife.

After much measuring and checking we bored the holes through the new part of the post for the long bolts that go right through the wall and secure the post to the building. Eventually we had got to the stage where we just needed to put it in place.

Getting the hurst post into positionThis was the bit that has been worrying us for weeks. The whole post weighs about three hundredweight or one hundred and fifty kilogrammes to those that have abandoned the old measure.

Not only is the post quite heavy, it had to travel a winding path around beams, posts and acroprops. All this and very little room for anyone to move around it.

Yet again it was a case of pensioner power! With rope slings and a few strategically placed bits of wood we managed to lift,slide and generally fiddle the post into the gear pit not too far from its intended position.

At one point the timber was being carried by Martyn, Dave Colin, John, Max and Richard. Jonathan was taking photographs while Dick kept a wary eye on proceedings. It turned out that that was the easy bit!

The hurst post nears its correct positionHaving got the post roughly into position we had to jack it up so that it was in the right place to take the weight of the stone platform and line it up with the bolt holes in the brickwork.

Pieces of dowel took the place of iron bolts for the first part of the exercise and after a lot of discussion, a few false starts, and a certain amount of salty language we got the post to sit in the right place.

There is still a long way to go before we have finished this particular repair but it felt really good to get this part of the job done.

Dick wisely kept out the way while most of this was going on and spent the day putting a coat of paint on various components of the PTO shaft including one half of the shaft itself.

Local hop sacks make a traditional roof liningOnce the hurst post was more or less in the right place Max and Jonathan went back to the top of the mill and fixed some of the new hop sacks in place as roof lining.

These have been donated by a local hop grower and are the equivalent of the old sacks that used to be used.

We all headed for our homes thinking that it had been a very good day only to discover that it had been even better than we thought.

Jim, our Treasurer, was delighted to be able to tells us that the R.D.Turner Charitable Trust, based in Arley, Worcestershire, had decided that Shelsley Watermill was the kind of project they were set up to support and had granted us £1000. After the earlier news about the listing status of the mill we know that none of that donation needs to go on VAT. What a great end to a busy day and a good point to end this watermill blog.

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