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GES169 - B B wool Mill, UK

On the occasion of one of 'da norf's' well known explorer's birthday, a seemingly large hoard of explorers turned up in Manchester. Most of whom ended up wandering around here, bumping into each other. I stayed with GE074 at his very nice place. GE058 and I had come up to Manchester together on National Expresses slowest of slow buses together, and GE063 joined us in Manchester to form a foursome. We headed down country lanes, dodging road kill, farm carts and wandering sheep, to get to the small town the Mill is situated in. Men, real men, were getting down on each other in a local park, playing rugby. The overcast sky left a gloomy feel to the place. We parked up, and set off for the access point.

Access was certainly a method I haven't used before, and was tricky for a whole host of similar reasons. A tight squeeze at the end, and we were in. As were a number of other people going by the footprint marks. GE058 pointed out where not to go due to security devices. After that we were free to wander around the expansive buildings. The Mill goes back to the mid-19th Century, but as the date shows in the pic below, some parts were built in the 20th Century.

Walking around there were various areas where all sorts of stuff had been stored.

GE074 was keen to get to the higher of two towers on the site, and we headed up there, bumping into another group of local explorers. Loitering around the top, GE074 got to work on a padlock with his Acme Lockpick kit. After a quarter of an hour, I and others were getting a bit bored, and I decided to point out the rather obvious two crosshead screws holding the lock latch in place. A quick ask around, and a screwdriver was produced, and access granted. It being somewhat exposed, we quickly went up in pairs rather than a hoard.As wide as I could get, most of the factory. Also the rather nice iron walkways going between the buildings in the lower centre of the picture below.

I'm guessing this is the equivalent of a spinning machine, threading the wool.

More machines, that have presumably had covers removed, rather than being a health & safety nightmare.

Something I found rather odd here, is the use of radioactive elements. I can't really think why this would be needed, but obviously it was. A search on the web shows it may have been to kill parasites before being spun.

A staircase up from the rooms above, and we were in attic style rooms, with lots of disused rollers amongst other things. There were also small sailboats of all things, tucked away in another section up here.

Back down on the ground floor, and there was a collection of unprocessed raw wool in sacks. It was hard to resist a dive into, so I didn't.

Walking across one of the walkways between the buildings, a camera looks out onto a public path that runs through the site. Not interested in the masses of explorers (we were up to about 15-20 or so by now, joined by GE075, GE079, and GE097 amongst others.

Spinning wheels, which prepared the wool before hitting the looms.

Impressive, so impressive it sat in a room by itself. It also had mandatory ear protection signs, so this would have been LOUD while in use. It's a very attractive piece of kit, in an age before mass use of plastic and machinery designed on computers, rather than just built.

A frontal shot of the machine above, with warning signs.

Having seen as much as we wanted, and stomachs beginning to rumble, we decided to exit the place. Nearby was a culvert that ran near the mill, carrying the water necessary for the wool washing process. The wooden shoots attached to the ceiling carried the water around washrooms to a discharge point. The floor of the culvert was a mess of sharp and slippery stones. How I managed not to slip I'll never know, same with GE063 who came with me.

After around 500m, we came to an open section, with plenty of large slippery rocks and deep pools lurking in the dark light. Sadly we were on a time limit, and had to return at this point to catch up with the others. GE063 took one more of his 5hr 50ISO exposures, and we slithered and dodged our way back into the open.

Most of us were pretty hungry by now, and the majority headed off to a pub not far away. There we dug into some fine pub fayre, drank earthy ales, and enjoyed the company and last rays of warmth from the setting sun.

We then made our merry way back to GE074's place, where we sorted ourselves out for the night's activities. Namely a birthday party for one of our number.

Thanks to GE074 and his wife for transport and lodging, and cheers to all the new people I met while wandering around t' mill.


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