Let’s go

Linda Cook; 01706 817254; landcook@talktalk.net
(Available to All Members). Various locations, phone Convenor for details.

We organise outings every 4 to 6 weeks, with a break over holiday periods. Our group is open to the whole membership and we try to select diverse places of interest so as to appeal to as many people as possible. We usually travel by coach, leaving Todmorden around 9.00/9.30a.m, arriving back approx. 6.00/7.00pm, depending on traffic, but occasionally travel by train. Our trips are announced at the monthly meetings where booking forms are available, and also sent by email around the members group. Bookings are taken on a first come basis.

Report on the Let’s Go trip to Blist Hill 11 July 2017.

Ernie Rogan

What a day !! Continuous heavy rain, traffic jams in both directions, but were the members downhearted ?  The “village” of Blist Hill is a living museum, close to Ironbridge and the origins of the Industrial Revolution. Although there was not a village on this site, houses shops and places of work, have been moved brick by brick to create this Victorian atmosphere. The entrance to the site is unusual, moving into darkness and climbing a staircase to overlook and feel the sensation of working in a heavy industrial environment. From there visitors go directly into the village streets with and the many establishments. Firstly a call at the Bank to exchange modern day money into token Victorian coins to spend in the shop: the sweet shop being favourite judging by the queues. The New Inn Public House served “original” Victorian fare and drink. Perhaps to everyone’s modern taste. Whereas the Forest Glen Refreshments Pavilion’s menu was most certainly up to date.

Of great interest was the Trevithick locomotive. The original was built in 1802; members saw a replica, made by local apprentices, from few original drawings. This remarkable vehicle trundles its way for 200 yards and then reverses. This is only fired up 3 times a week, so members were fortunate to see it.

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The chemist shop has featured in the tv series Victorian Chemist, and contains all the wonderful, colourful bottles and jars of the period.The winding engine for raising and lowering the cages down the 400 ft shaft was fully steamed and works at great speed. Members tried their hands at the Victorian Fairground, with coconut shy, hoopla and various other side shows.It was interesting to see the size of machinery made to make products. Huge beam and steam engines providing the power for the Industrial Revolution.

Despite the weather members commented, at the end of the day, that overall they had enjoyed the trip. The committee hope for better weather next time.

 Report on Let’s Go trip to Massom Mill. Matlock. 

Our first trip of our 2017 season was to Arkwright Massom Mill in Matlock. 53 hungry souls descended on the café, arriving at lunchtime. The staff were surprised by our later than expected arrival, but coped admirably. Having refreshed themselves the members set out to walk down to the “Heights of Abraham” or avail themselves of a shopping opportunity.

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Promptly at 2:45pm the tour of the mill commenced. Kevin, the  guide, dressed appropriately for the period, showed a short film then gave a potted history of Arkwright, his life, inventions and the mill itself. Built in 1783 on the site of a former paper mill, the mill is situated on the banks of the River Derwent, which supplied the water to power the machinery. Soon there were 2 huge water wheels driving the mill engine. Over time, these were replaced by coal, then later oil fired boilers. Now there are water turbines which supply electricity, sufficient for the mill’s activities and the excess power is sold to the National Grid. The looms were started and the noise levels increased until all 6 were running at full speed. It would be difficult to imagine the sound of one thousand looms in a site. The group were also shown a jacquard loom working. The dangers of the operatives, both young and old were explained; moving machinery, cotton dust in the lungs. One sign declared that no young or female person should operate that particular machine ! The star of the show was the mill engine. The fascinating massive machine with giant pistons moving slowly and the huge flywheel turning, which would have driven all the mill’s looms, by a series of shafts, wheels and belts. The mill finally closed in the late 1980’s and was, at that time, the longest continuously working mill in the world.

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