Kersey Mill - Newsletter April 2013
Spring has arrived as work continues to be undertaken around the mill. All but one of the commercial units are now let.
The latest addition is The Revival Exchange, selling designer ladies ware and more at bargain prices.
Already in the commercial units is a delightful café, the Venue for weddings and functions, a Beauty Room and Hair Salon and Health and Fitness centre, all doing different promotions to contribute to The Mill repairs.
Back at the mill plans are moving slowly but surely towards restoration with on-going talks with English Heritage and Chris Hullcoop the Suffolk Mill Trust.
Works have been carried out by volunteer Mark Mitchel to the Tail Race to clear debris and years of silt to allow the water to flow freely away.
Gabion baskets have been made onsite and installed to prevent erosion of the banks to the tail Race.
On a very cold Sunday morning with the help of two local volunteers, Callum Davies and Gary Barnes, work was carried out to see if the wheel could be made to work again and assess the extent of the damage to the underside of the wheel and Race.
Water was pumped out from under the wheel after stop planks and sand bags were placed to stop the river water and some interesting finds were made. What was first thought to be the original cast iron sluice gate may well be the directional plate to force the water onto the wheel blades. This would suggest the design of the wheel is based on the Poncelet design developed by the Frenchman Jean-Victor Poncelet whilst he worked at the École d’Application in Metz. Soon after 1838 his design was being used as it improved efficiency by 50% on slow rivers in France and Germany so was quickly adapted for use on the Norfolk and Suffolk slow flowing rivers.
A large tree stood close to the wheel shed and was the cause of subsidence and cause of a fracture appearing at the west corner. To save the wheel house and part of the mill from damage caused by the tree falling, a limb drops off – smashing through part of the mill or just the roots causing further heave damage. Once inspections and investigations were made the Lime Tree was cut down when it was discovered it was rotten two thirds of the core and in a very dangerous state. As the roots return to nature the wall should drop back in place then with careful placement of ties and stitching the fracture will be almost invisible and the mill is once again safe