Warwick Bridge Corn Mill update August 2018

 

Two large tasks were undertaken earlier in the month the clearing of the accumulated silt and debris from the head and tail races of the mill. Work commenced with the tail race and was effectively carried out by a one and a half tonne excavator in skilled hands to move the material to the downstream end and a grab wagon which took the material away. The remaining steelwork and brick piers which supported the north side of the former warehouse and garage constructed over the tail race were also removed. The silt in the tail race culvert was beyond the reach of the machine and required shovels, barrows and brushes!

 

Work commencing on the tail race clearance, looking towards the road bridge

 

Excavator and grab clearing silt and debris from the tail race, looking eastwards from the road bridge

 

Two pieces of a broken millstone, re-used as the base for a flight of steps adjacent to the tail race portal were revealed. A blocked up gap in the parapet wall above the steps, would have allowed access down to the race from the mill yard, presumably for drawing water.

Pieces of a broken millstone used in a flight of steps adjacent to the tail race culvert portal (top right)

 

The head race was not readily accessible by machine so the digging was by hand, though a pair of soil conveyors helped with moving the silt down the slope to the garden.

 

The head race before clearance, seen looking eastwards from the scaffolding

 

Clearing the silt from the head race. The concrete socket for a timber supporting the walkway to the escape sluice is in the foreground

 

Soil conveyors moving the silt for distribution on the bank below the head race

 

Inside the barn the timber floor over the wheel pit was lifted. As part of gaining safe access to the area the remaining timberwork of the fixed barn thresher were given protection during the works.

 

Commencing protection for the timberwork of the barn thresher

 

In the store room to the south of the wheel pit the flagstone floor was recorded and lifted to allow for drainage and foundation work. A raised flagstone plinth in the corner of the room, located below a trap door in the floor above, was recorded before removal.

 

Flagstone plinth supported on brickwork in the corner of the store

 

The large industrial motor, installed in the extension beside the Stone Floor of the mill to drive milling machinery once mains electricity became available in the district, required removal before the floor was lifted for installation of new joists. The heavy machine, by Newton Brothers of Derby, took some ingenuity and muscle to manouver out from the tight space! The outer part of the stone fireplace hearth in the same space was removed to allow the boards to be lifted.

 

 

The large industrial motor in the extension beside the Stone Floor. V belts connected the motor to adapted line shafting to drive milling machinery on the floor below

 

 

 

The floorboards removed showing the corner fireplace supported from below and the arrangement for hanging the large hopper in the space below from the floor joists

 

The space to the east of the drying kiln within the kiln building was investigated ahead of erection of an internal birdcage scaffold. Clearing the disturbed floor deposits revealed the base of an ash pit set within a mortared stone base which underlies the present kiln and is

presumably associated with the flue cut into the south wall of the kiln building.

Looking south in the space with the base of an ashpit and the associated flue exposed in the wall above (right) and remains of a wall foundation to the left. Bedrock showing below these features

 

Surviving flagstone floor in the northern part of the space with a cut down millstone forming the threshold at the door in the north wall (top left) and sockets for vertical timbers cut into the flags to the right