The Water Wheel

Published - August 19, 2008 8:55 AM

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The water wheel was used to turn the mill stones in the mill to grind corn, it works by the buckets filling with water provided by the leat above. There were three main types of water wheel an undershot (water flow below the wheel), a breast shot (water flow mid way on the wheel) and an overshot which this wheel was where the water flow came over the top just past dead centre. An over shot wheel was usually more efficient than a breast shot or under shot as they had to have a good head of water.

The top photo shows the wheel just as I started to clear the mass of ivy and brambles away.




In the 2nd photo you can see that the wheel is almost completely overgrown, if you had walked too quickly down our lane you wouldn't have known there was ever a mill here.






 The 3rd photo is of the wheel Pitt, this was a very large task as it was about five feet deep with rubble and soil that had collapsed from the walls behind. It had to be dug by hand and removed by buckets up a ladder.






The 4 & 5 photos show the wheel free from ivy etc., I was very pleased and relieved to see that the outer rims and shaft were still in good condition. They are made of cast iron bolted in sections probably made from a local foundry, I couldn't find a makers name but I found a stamp of a Rose and a Crown on both sides. The buckets that were left were made of wrought iron which is why they had survived for so long.







You can see from the 6 & 7th photos that the walls behind the wheel had collapsed this was because ash trees had been allowed to grow all along the leat above. I had to rebuild the wall behind the wheel almost from the bottom of the pitt and shore up the bank behind approx 4m high and re-build with reinforced concrete faced with stone. I had to take professional help on this from a friend who is a Civil Engineer.










Photos 8 & 9 show the buckets removed and all the hundreds of bolts cut off with angle grinders and punched through. This was done by Bridmet Metal Work to allow me to lightly sand blast clean all iron work before they fitted the buckets.








 The bottom photo shows the wheel finished. Bridmet did a great job of carefully fitting the forty eight buckets and I would happily recomend them to another mill owner. They used one of the old buckets as a template and bent them using a metal called 'Core 10 ' which I paid a bit extra for. Core 10 should last longer than standard Galvanized steel, as apparently as it rusts it forms its own whether proof seal.