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Originally posted on 31 December 2009

In December, representatives from Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Renewables travelled up to the Darley Mill Centre, near Harrogate, to see a newly restored waterwheel in action and to talk to Northern Millwrights, the company that carried out the work.

Refurbished waterwheel at Darley Mill.

Russell Jackson, from Northern Millwrights, met us on arrival and showed us the Darley waterwheel, explaining the tasks involved in its operation. He also demonstrated a new, quarter scale model steel waterwheel, which his business partner, Dr Bob Catley, had recently designed.

We then went inside to listen to presentations from Russel and Bob. The business partners explained a bit about their company and work to date. They described the trials and tribulations of the Darley Mill waterwheel restoration – including some unexpected problems with the foundations supporting the wheel itself, to transform the unsafe waterwheel into an asset to the mill. They hope to connect up a generator and start producing electricity soon. Talk then turned to their ideas regarding two Sheffield projects – Shepards Wheel and Kelham Island. By moving into more familiar territory these presentations sparked lots of discussion, which continued through a very tasty buffet lunch.

We used the last of the daylight for a final inspection of the finished waterwheel, questioning both Russel and Bob about their work and ideas, as well as gathering some photos and videos of the wheels before driving back to Sheffield. Our visit certainly gave us planty to talk about on the way home.

Thank-you very much to Northern Millwrights for a very interesting day.

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