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Report - Fussell Ironstone Works - Frome - July 2014

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Idavoll, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Idavoll

    Idavoll Who?
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    This was a nice explore; I wasn't sure what to be expecting but it was nice to find a place that had been taken back by nature rather than just destroyed by the local kids. There seems to be a lot of tunnels in and around the mill but neither my friend or I had waders so we didn't go underground.

    History
    Based outside of Mells (previously known as Iron Burgh), the factory was built in 1744 and produced many agricultural edge tools such as scythes, sickles and billhooks. In it's prime the iron works at Mells employed 250 people on this site with various members of the Fussell family operating a total of six sites in the local area: the Upper Works further up the Wadbury Valley, the Great Elm Edge-Tool Works, the Chantry Works, the Railford Works and a small site at Gurney Slade. Tools produced by Fussells were exported to Europe and America, and the family expanded its activities to include coal mining and banking, with the business issuing its own banknotes at one stage.

    The Fussell empire collapsed towards the end of the 19th century. A variety of reasons for this have been suggested and all of them probably made their contributions. It was probably a case of too little, too late, in terms of keeping up with technical developments in the great industrial centres of the Midlands and the North. For example, the Fussells depended almost entirely on water power to a late date, although they did use steam in the later years. They also installed rolling mills at the Lower Works at great expense, but seem to have had difficulty in getting these to work satisfactorily. By the time this happened, a catastrophic collapse in English agriculture in the 1870s hit the market for edge tools.

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    Thanks for looking.
     

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  2. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Nice that :)
     
  3. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    I think a revisit with some wellies or waders is in order. Those nice tunnels are begging to be explored!
     
  4. 1nk4

    1nk4 28DL Regular User
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    decent, looks like something out of indiana jones lol
     
  5. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks to the OP for putting this up. Had a nice Sunday afternoon walk today with the kids as a result of seeing this post. This site is right beside a very nice public footpath through a deep valley.

    Just to let you know, those "tunnels" are not worth exploring even if you had torches and waders - nothing extends far. The site is much more extensive than the above set of photos suggest.
     
  6. Idavoll

    Idavoll Who?
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    Alas, I try and keep to the "less is more" picture rule that I read somewhere so try not to be too picture heavy. Saying that, after the initial site I didn't find much else in the surrounding area but sometimes you just miss stuff.

    As you saw more I look forward to your report showing the more extensive site. :)
     
  7. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
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    Very nice indeed
     
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