Conserving Quarry Bank

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Throughout the winter season Quarry Bank is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays to carry out essential conservation work across the property. Our Premises and Engineering Manager, Chris Guffogg, explains just what it takes to look after this varied property.

To carry out the necessary repairs and maintenance for such a huge property, with such wide needs, from cobbles to steam engines, Chris, who has worked at the Mill for 14 years, starts planning as far back as Easter. The site is always changing and many jobs cannot be completed in one season and have to be carried over to the next winter.

Safety first

Maintaining the Mill Yard is an important task as it's an area constantly used by visitors. Chris and his team have to make sure that the cobbles and paving slabs in the Mill Yard are all properly in place to make sure they're not a danger for our visitors.

Maintaining the flow

One of the major jobs each year is the maintenance of the headrace (the channel which carries water to the wheel) which is frequently clogged with silt from the River Bollin and debris such as fallen trees. This year we are replacing our by-wash and side sluice gates as they are beyond repair, and we need new ones to ensure that we can control the water flow for our brand new turbine as part of the Hydro Project.

The water wheel is a huge part of the conservation work, being over 160 years old, and, just like the headrace, is prone to silting up, and needs some tender love and care to make sure it runs smoothly. The bearings are greased every day and we have a water tube which sprays water onto the gearing to make sure that it's running freely.

Keeping the machinery whirring

Our heritage textile machines in the Mill, from the automatic looms to the spinning mule are assessed over the summer each year. If they are experiencing wear and tear the team is usually able to repair 'in-house', but if the machine has a fault then we may have to get hold of a completely new part.

To maintain the machines, they are taken apart, then oiled, greased and all the cotton build up is cleaned out. The team has to wait until the winter to carry out this task as they are in use every single day throughout the summer season, being demonstrated to visitors by our interpreters.