Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another flint mill…

There’s been a mill here at Cheddleton since the 14thn century, originally built to grind corn, but later converted to grind flint for the pottery industry.

Cheddleton Flint MillPanorama
Unlike Jesse Shirley’s mill at Etruria, this was powered by water, first one waterwheel (just visible behind the chimney) with the north wheel added later. Apart from this though the process was similar, although only flint was ground here, no bone.

Flint kilns for calcining the stone
I imagine the pits would have been inside a building…

Draw-holes below for extracting the calcined flint.SAM_8973

The pan rooms were situated in the upper floors of the two buildings to which the water-wheels are attached. The axles drove bevel gears to turn the spindles of the paddles in the pans.

I noticed this afternoon that the museum was open, so, after a cup of tea I went to have a look. I should have skipped the brew, by the time I went back the custodian was locking up so I didn’t get a chance to have a look inside. Still, he was an interesting chap to chat to, having been involved with the site in one way or another for 50 years.

Twin water-wheelsSAM_8968

Sluices control the flow of water from the mill-leat.SAM_8970

The north wheelSAM_8969

After grinding the slurry was dried in a coal-fired kiln, in the centre of the top picture, before being loaded back onto boats for shipping to the potteries.

I hope I’ll have a chance to have a look inside on the way back..

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