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Report - Longfords Mill and Engine House, Gloucestershire - August 2015

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by clebby, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    Longfords Mill and Engine House - Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.

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    As a Gloucestershire-based explorer, I regularly find myself tapping phrases such as 'derelict Gloucestershire' or 'abandoned Stroud' into Google. This has paid countless dividends over the years, but it also offers a disappointing glimpse at some of the epic looking sites that came before my time, and that have long since been demolished/converted. One such place is Longfords Mill - as far back as 2009 I can remember being teased by photos (taken in the late 90s) of an epic-looking disused mill complex near Nailsworth, complete with engine house, that had supposedly been converted into housing in 2004.

    Anyhow, back in January I happened across a webpage which appeared to suggest that the engines were still in-situ and were due to be restored by the Stroudwater Textile Trust, a local group that seeks to recognise the importance of the woollen industry in the Stroud Valleys. A bit more searching and it became apparent that a large chunk of the original buildings haven't actually been converted at all, and only appear to be occupied as they have had their windows restored so that the new residents don't have to look at an eyesore. Sold!

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    Some history of the mills:

    All in all a thoroughly enjoyable explore with huey and WDW. Some pictures:

    The Mill

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    One must be... creative in order to get to the upper floor, but it's always a pleasure to see a mill with machinery still remaining.

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    As the industrial revolution progressed, the elderly mill buildings struggled with the advent of larger and larger milling machinery. Downstairs, a beautiful cast iron bracket and reinforced beam shows and attempt to support new machinery on the upper floors.

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    Moving into the 'old mill' - this building has a date stone from 1703, which is the date when William Playne assumed it was built, but the style of lettering is early 19th century and it is more likely to date from the early or mid-1700s. This was “the fulling mill and water grist mill” bought by Thomas Playne in 1790, and parts of the floor have been repaired with parts of the original waterwheels, removed in 1840. Whilst it's pretty bare, inside it's old old old.

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    You know graffiti's old when it's carved into the wall in Times New Roman ffs

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    'He is still wearing the same cap - February 1940'. Also note the calculations hastily scribbled onto the walls, some dating from the Edwardian era!

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    The Engine House

    The real paydirt was downstairs in the basement of the Old Mill. By the early 1900s, William Playne’s grandson owned the mill and in 1910 opined that the old 4 storey mill buildings were no longer safe for the modern heavy and quick–running machinery. The outside walls, which had had stood for more than a century, began to show signs of the heavy strain to which they had been subjected by the new machinery and in all probability before long the Factory Inspector might have condemned them'.

    As a result, the Old Mill underwent another extensive renovation and became the site of a “central power station”. The whole mill, with the exception of the fullers and washers, was converted. Today, the Old Mill contains a unique and diverse arrangement of power generating equipment: a 125kW Gordon water turbine with a dynamo, a Bellis & Morcom steam engine with a dynamo, and a later Allen diesel motor. The water turbine is of particular significance, being both more unusual than the other two generators, and demonstrating the continuing significance, well into the 20th century, of water power to the mill.

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    Inside it's rather special, and in many respects I was reminded of the engine house at Tonedale Mills that urbanity and I cracked way back when.

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    The 1904 Bellis and Morcom steam engine:

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    Complete with Mather and Platt dynamo:

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    The Allen diesel motor, dated 1947. Rumour has it that itwas originally designed for a WW2 submarine, but as always the truth is somewhat less romantic - it was in fact commissioned for ship-board service, before being altered for industrial use after the order was cancelled.

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    The motor is attached by a fat drive belt to an English Electric alternator:

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    And finally, the Gordon water turbine. When I briefly visited in February, the river was thundering through the inlet pipe and making an awesome noise, but by the second visit all was quiet.

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    The engine house is by no means a walk in and takes a bit of effort to see, but put the effort in folks!

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    A later Laurence Scott alternator, dated 1947:

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    Now get searching! :p
     
    #1 clebby, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015

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  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Not bad

    What you doing poncing about on that I-beam :p
     
  3. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    Read the caption you mongoloid :rolleyes:
     
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  4. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    I did already, hence the comment ;)
     
  5. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    You scoundrel
     
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  6. Cuuvin

    Cuuvin 28DL Colonial Member
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    :eek: SWEET MOTHER LUGNUTS !!! That's one hellva Engine room! got just about everything, 'cept a nuclear reactor ! :D Thanks for sharing, what an excellent find & report , mate , :thumb , :Not Worthy and all that stufff ,..
    . KEEP-CALM-EXPLORE-ON--small.jpg
     
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  7. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Low hanging fruit!
     
  8. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    Got to say mate thats one hell of a mill and engine house, well done on getting it done.
     
  9. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
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    Cheers man, just goes to show it's still out there.
     
  10. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    Very true, i just wish there were more people find g these places, it seems to be getting less and less. Still as long as the hardcore keep at it these places will keep cropping up..
     
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  11. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    Sweet, obviously Gloucestershire mill firms keeping the "rural" theme going with their choice of engine hall coverings! The Lancashire cotton barons would consider that a tad plain.

    That said steam engine in situ walks all over Minton tiles (in everyone else's opinion)

    I have google'd "disused engine house" a million times and never heard of this so top marks for the find!
     
  12. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Yeah never heard of this one either. Just goes to show you what you can find on your doorstep, no ferries required.
     
  13. Dark Prince

    Dark Prince 28DL Regular User
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    With added mines just up the road as well!!.
     
  14. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    Great day there indeed. Top reporting as ever!
     
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