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Report (Permission Visit) Ham Mill, Stroud - Dec 2014

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by huey, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Originally explored in 2005 by Oxygen Thief and later by a 14 year old Clebby who was innocently cycling by seeking adventure and took the opportunity to blag a report. (Its not recorded whether he had jam sandwiches and ginger beer in his bikes basket though.) This visit is directly down to Ourts suggestion and several months of polite pestering the poor site manager- don't think of just turning up,no one on site nor the security will let you in without him,ask us how we know...

    BORING HISTORY BIT EVERYONE SKIMS THROUGH

    Theres been a mill sited here since 1608 making fabrics.The mill produced the red fabrics used in soldiers uniforms (amongst other things.) By 1642 grants of protection during the Civil war were introduced,showing the importance of Stroud scarlet cloth to the Royalists. According to some sources by 1846 the mill still made cloth but had diversified,extending the site and becoming a saw mill too. Most of the original wooden buildings were burnt down by a serious fire twenty years later and were rebuilt in stone. By 1870 mention appears of 'wool loom/sorting,boring shops,dyehouses,carpentry shop,blacksmiths,willy house,boiler house and stock warehouse buildings.'
    After changing hands numerous times over the years by the mid 1800's the mill had 49 power looms and 29 handlooms the three water wheels now having help from a 30hp steam-engine. The output shaft went through the floor above powering the Stocks and Giggs machinery. The mill was valued at £375.
    In 1900 the entire site was sold to Thomas Bondworth and Sons who made carpets,a new factory was built in 1920 spinning the yarn just for Ham Mill but when that factory closed in '54 the Ham Mill span yarn for the parent Stourport company,as business diminished. By 2000 the 700 staff were looking for a job.


    THE SITE TODAY

    The main five story mill and Gatehouse are grade 2 listed since 1988.The mill was extended in 1825. The entire site is now owned by an Arabian company,Assael Architecture who have planning to re-develop the site,clearing waterways,landscaping gardens and building new properties creating a luxury development.

    THE EXPLORE

    Who would be stupid enough to leave a visit like this until the coldest/shortest days of the year? Enter stage left the UK's most hospitalised dynamic duo,myeslf and Ourt..

    Google image as it is now...
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    and as planned...
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    The mill in all its glory
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    The saw mill side actually dwarfs the mill
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    Inside..
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    worth knowing but not reassuring..
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    Open backed lorries would reverse under here,bales would come out from the main building on the rails and be dropped down into the trailers

    [​IMG]

    The Ashlar chimney,held together with framework and hope.It was extended when neighbours complained of the smoke hence the different brickwork.
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    The very top room of the mill,with the chill and ambience its like breathing pure 17th century air up here
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    Coming down a level is this lovely old winch-the boom extended out and moved stock to whatever floor it was needed at
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    From outside you can see the hole for the boom and the rope guides above each door
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    Some of the rooms are depressingly empty-some would say the romance was ripped out along with the looms
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    How it would have looked back in the day
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    One for Oxygen Thief!
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    The very root of the building-the water wheel culverts?
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    And first aid room
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    Paperwork circa 1937
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    During the war years Horsa wooden gliders wings were built here. 3'600 were built in total,these massive gliders would be towed behind a plane,many crashed into the Channel when the tow rope failed. Last year students building a cockpit replica were allowed to use the original building again,a nice touch. The finished cockpit is now in the Jet Age Museum,Staverton.
    Bond Mill,just up the road,also played its part-it was a shadow factory in case a major armaments factory got bombed.

    This is the mark 1 Horsa,early versions had an awkward side loading ramp barely able to take a jeeps weight.Later versions had a hinged tailpiece.
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    The enormous boiler which fed a huge steam tank outside
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    Beautiful cast iron door for clearing the chimney ash...
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    Looking up inside the chimney
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    Forgotten oil can
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    Dove shit shed,my favourite of the day
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    Some arty farty stuff for you if you've made it this far..
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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    And just so we don't forget what these places were really like back then...
    [​IMG]



    After two hours in the mill we emerged like newly hatched critters,blinking and squinting. After five hours on site we were exhausted but happy. We cant thank the foreman enough-passionate,knowledgable and friendly,a top bloke. As building work is due to start very shortly theres a very real chance we are going to be the last ever visitors. What a priviledge.
    Hope you enjoyed,thanks for looking.
     

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  2. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Really enjoyed looking at your report mate, that chimney and its history are just amazing, thanks for sharing it :thumb Think i saw a mannequin being molested in that first aid room some time recently :)
     
  3. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Awesome winch pic mate :thumb
     
    #3 Oort, Dec 22, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
  4. Scrutinizer

    Scrutinizer 28DL Member
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    That looks like a still from a horror film. Very creepy.
     
  5. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Very nice report mate :thumb

    Last pic would be a good Horror Film screen grab :)
     
  6. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Ha! love the last pic,thanks for the comments guys,appreciated. :thumb
     
  7. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Outstanding, much much more to see here than I originally thought. Fantastic report as well.

    Kill yourself
     
  8. Longhairshitjob

    Longhairshitjob 28DL Full Member
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Great report. Interesting place.
     
  9. TallRich

    TallRich 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Nice report mate, I love the old photos mixed with new, you got some cracking shots there!
     
  10. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Thanks everyone,our persistence really paid off. Or maybe because the place is coming down soon the nice old foreman wanted it all documented before it's too late,he's never allowed anyone round the chimney/non mill side before. Great bloke,great place.
     
  11. Raz

    Raz 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Nice report mate, chimney shot is awesome! :thumb
     
  12. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Ham Mill,Stroud, dec 2014

    Thanks,chimney only being held up by framework at moment,real shame.
     
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