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Report - Tone Mills, Wellington - November 2012

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by sirjonnyp, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. sirjonnyp

    sirjonnyp 28DL Regular User
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    After a few weeks of being lazy and/or not having the opportunity to get out there and have an explore, I got to do Tone Mills on Friday. My friend and I were driving down to Dartmoor from Ashford to join some others for some hiking and some drinking, and were looking for somewhere over half way for us to stop for an hour for a rest. Pretty quickly this place came up, and thanks to a few words with GAJ I was pointed in the direction of the correct mill, not the one by the houses that I had found on the map. So my mate dropped me off, saying he was going to go for a walk somewhere down the road, and we agreed on an hour to meet back up.

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    Some history taken from Seffyboy's report:

    Tone Mills is a complete water-powered cloth finishing works, established by the Fox Brothers and Co at the confluence of the River Tone and the Back Stream and dates from 1830. The remains of the water wheel remain in-situ and so too do all the line shafting and gearing. The Mill later had an electric motor installed to supplement the water-wheel during times of drought, although the water wheel continued to be used for many decades after. Put simply the mill comprises of a number of key areas to accommodate the various stages of production: A Fulling area, where wet cloth was dried, scoured, cleaned and milled to the desired finish. A dying room, adjacent to the fulling area which specialised in producing an indigo colouring. Reservoirs and Sluice gates, to manage the flow of water into the wheel chamber. The wheel chamber and a later power house. The associated machinery for all the stages of production are all in-situ, making it an industrial archaeologists paradise. The works finally closed in 2000 and production was moved to a more contemporary location. The buildings and machinery are Grade II* listed. Tone Mill in Wellington is the last woollen mill in the West Country, with a priceless collection of original machinery still in place in the wet finishing works. The site is of European significance.

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    The first part of the mill was completely in the dark, but I was surprised to see so much of the mill left behind, and not pikied.

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    I made my way through to the main area of the mill and was pleased to have some natural light do the lighting for me.

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    The piece of paper on the clipboard describes how to do a certain type of milling.

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    I really liked the old carts that were dotted around, a nice touch to still be in such good a condition.

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    Unfortunately I couldn't get my camera into a position where I could get the whole of the wheel in shot, so this is the best that I got.

    It was around this point that my hour was almost up, and on my lap around, found all those areas through holes that I'd missed on my first lap :rolleyes: In my rush I didn't take such good photos of those parts, or interesting, looking back.

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    With that I made my way back out to my mate, expecting him to tell me about his walk. Instead he told me of how he was almost hit by a car that was rolling a few hundred metres up the road, and had got the chap out of the car, then directed traffic for the next hour. He was pretty shaken up (the old boy who was driving was fine too, thankfully) so we had a beer or two when we got to Dartmoor to calm his nerves. Interesting afternoon :D

    Thanks for reading

    SJP​
     

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