Oswestry & Border History & Archaeology Group – OBHAG
Visit Report to Mellor Mill – July 2015
It was an early start for the trip to Mellor Mill, Marple, Stockport with the coach leaving Oswestry with 19 people on board at 9.00am to arrive at Roman Lakes Leisure Park for 10.30am.
On arrival the coach could not drive all the way down to the lakes so we had to walk a short way over Bottoms Bridge to get to the café where we met Mr Robert Humphrey Taylor dressed as Samuel Oldknow the entrepreneur who built Mellor Mill.
After some refreshment we sat down to hear a talk by “Samuel” about the history of the mill. It was built by Mr Oldknow in 1790-92 and was the largest of its time. He had moved to the Goyt Valley from Nottingham and acquired the Bottoms Hall estate and river Goyt. He changed the course of the river to be able to build the dams and mill ponds, now known as Roman Lakes. He also built a farmhouse and outbuildings to provide food for his workers, a house for his apprentices, a corn mill and roads leading into the valley. He also promoted canal building in the area.
After the talk we had lunch at the café before setting off on our guided tour of the excavations done so far.
After walking past the mill ponds named Roman Lakes by the Victorians when they changed the area into a leisure park we arrived at the site of the wheelhouse where the huge “Wellington Wheel” had been housed. This wheel was 22ft in diameter by 17ft wide.
From here we went to the mill itself. This had been 210ft long and 42ft wide and six storeys high. The excavations started in 2009 with mill walls being uncovered at the south end. Since then more excavations have revealed steps down to a cellar, bits of framing and two blocks for mounting machinery. A cobbled area in front of the mill has been uncovered, also a stable for visiting horses and a 100-metre tunnel for the drive shaft from the Waterloo Wheel.
We then went down a steep slope to a wooded area where we saw the Waterloo wheelpit. This as actually got its name carved above it. In this area is the run off from the mill going under the road and down to the river. This area was too overgrown to be able to see other sites, the workshops, stables etc, but we did see the site of the gasworks which has been partially excavated.
From here we walked back to Bottoms Bridge where we were shown the site of Oldknow`s Mansion and that of his brother`s mansion across the river.
Before leaving Heather thanked Mr Taylor (“Samuel Oldknow”) for a very interesting guided tour to which we all agreed.
The excavations are continuing at the mill site and they are hoping to uncover the whole industrial complex and open it to the public eventually. If you want to know more about the history of the mill and of Samuel Oldknow there is a website www.mellorarchaeology.org.uk/mellor-mill-1792-1892.html with all the information on.