Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Wheel on the Moss

People didn't hang around when they wanted to change things in Victorian England. Richard Thomas Gillow, the owner of Leighton Hall in the 1840's decided he wanted to drain the Moss for agriculture. Efforts had been made before with limited success, but this time he was serious: new embankments, ditches and a steam pump were all on the agenda. He spoke to a neighbour who already had experience with steam engines -- Robert Waithman, the owner of a flax Mill at Holme -- and then he sat down and sketched out his plans. The design below is taken from his notebook, still in the archive at Leighton Hall. It shows the steam-powered wheel that he wanted to install to push water off the Moss.  He took his idea to a Preston foundry which produced more detailed plans in October 1847. A little over two months later the finished engine was ready to deliver. Meanwhile, Robinsons the builders constructed an engine house and rebuilt the chimney at Crag Foot...and they were ready to pump!     

A Page from the notebook of Squire Richard Thomas Gillow: the man who drained the Moss. (Courtesy of Richard Reynolds) 
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