You may have seen this imposing building during your travels in the Great Haseley area of Oxfordshire. Sadly, it has fallen into neglect and the years have taken their toll. A major restoration project is now underway, aiming to return this historic building to its former glory. Follow the progress of the restoration in our blog....

The Restoration Team

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Lintels and brass monkeys

This should kill the death watch beetle
A couple of very cold days at the mill saw us resurrecting one of the two fireplaces. Very warming, although if there's too much west in the wind direction, we end up nicley smoked by the end of the day. We must get around to cleaning the other chimney out, on the opposite side of the tower, although it could be a never ending battle against the crows and their deposits of nesting material.

Mid and inner lintels installed
The two new lintels have been installed and the stonework above made good. Sighs of relief all round.... Looking at the window above, the lintels there could be even more 'fun'.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Supports for the crown wheel

In order to preserve the crown wheel, seen here from the stone floor, we are adding some extra bracing. These are being let-in to the main shaft, although the knots seem perfectly positioned to hamper these efforts. The angle of the knots shows that the tree, from which the shaft was made, is upside-down in the mill.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

New lintels for south stone floor window

New middle lintel member in place

The old interior lintel member, in decayed condition

The lintels above the south bin floor window would have comprised three members. These have badly decayed, as in keeping with the other timbers on this, the exposed, side of the mill. We have started on replacement of these lintels. This will give some much needed support to the stonework above, which is in a somewhat precarious condition.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Flooring begins!.....

We had joist about had enough of fitting them, there was no joistification for anymore..

Finished joists on west of bin floor

At last, the bin floor joists are all in place and some floorboards have been fitted. The scaffolding will be removed / adapted as we work our way across. It will be nice not to have to tiptoe across joists for a change.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Drum restoring, and flooring

Sack hoist drive drum

New pieces let-in

Drive drums for boulters

A mixture of on and off-site work since the last post. Off-site we have started to restore the drive drum for the sack hoist. This has been affected by woodworm but there is plenty of 'meat' left in it. The worst bits have been cut away and new pieces let in. Its a similar story with the drive drums for the boulters. These are also being repaired, backed up with a layer of plywood to support the fragile structure. (This won't be visible when completed). Meanwhile, on-site work continues on the replacement bin floor joists - the original millwrights seem to have made-do with what material was available - so each joist housing has its own peculiarities - very time consuming to refit.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

On tenter hooks, and a rare weather phenomenon

The new steel yards, welded to a cranked shape, are being set up with the tentering gear. These mechanisms would allow the gap between the stones to be minutely adjusted, according to the speed of rotation of the sails. The layout has been deduced from evidence of the remaining parts of the originals.

Meanwhile, work is progressing on the new joists for the bin floor. Also, the stonework around the spliced beam ends on this floor is being reinstated.

We were treated to a 'fire rainbow' today - a coloured arc in the sky caused by light passing through ice crystals in high level cloud. I think the proper term is a circumhorizontal arc - quite a rare phenomenon at these latitudes.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

More splices - bin floor this time

The southern beam ends on the bin floor had gone the same way as those on the stone floor. The remains were more like compost than timber, with a few birds nests thrown in for good measure. Splices had been cut and today they were lifted up and we started to fit them.
South-east beam end on the bin floor

Friday, 18 June 2010

South bed stone hoisted back up

After a bit of scaffold tweaking, we were able to lift the south bed stone up to the stone floor today. Not easy, even with modern lifting tackle. Must have been fun in the old days! An interesting filler has been used in a pit in this stone - looks like it's lead.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

North stones back in their rightful place

The North stones are now set up, with the drive gear all in place and a new kerb installed.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A new door...

The original door to the bin floor has been absent for some time. The opening had been blocked up with timber and wire mesh. To improve the weatherproofing of the mill, a new 'stable' door has been made. This was fitted today, with the surrounding frame assembled on site and fixed to the stone. Long term - this will help with access for long timbers and so on...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Stone floor; boards, joists and discrepancies

With the Hurst frame complete, work has been proceeding on the main stone floor, inbetween other tasks! This hole is for the south pair of stones, which will be reinstated once the floor is finished. The boards adjacent to the tower wall will be removeable, giving a space through which the stones can be hoisted.

The joists to the east and west side of the stone floor have had to be replaced. Each of these joists has one end set into a socket in the stone wall and the other housed into the Hurst frame This is a view looking up at the western joists, from the main door. For reasons not clear at this stage, the Hurst frame beam seen here is significantly lower than its opposite number. We will have to pack up under the floor boards at this end to take out some of this discrepancy, otherwise the stone floor will have rather a 'unique' shape.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A bit of a fiddle with the new bolter cylinder

The new bolter cylinder is coming along. An elm spindle has been shaped to a hexagonal cross-section, and the original ironwork has been fitted at each end. This was a tricky job, if only we had a 16 inch square drill bit! With the iron bands driven up and everything eventually snug, the spokes could be added. Three holes at the appropriate spacing (dredged up the old school geometry from the memory banks!), then the spokes were driven through to give, effectively, six spokes. The longitudinal rails will then be added (the first can be seen at the bottom of the photo).

The 'crank' in the tail end ironwork seems to correspond with wear marks on the original cabinet at this point. We assume some sort of reciprocating mechanism was used to help feed the bran through the chute at the end of the bolter, to prevent it clogging up.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Bolter frame and cabinet

The bolter frame and cabinet are almost complete. Original pieces have been incorporated as much as possible. Here you can see the original back panel (after some repair) with the new frame and panelling. The original bearing will support the driven end of the cylinder.

The new bolter will be installed in the mill at a later date, once the nearby flooring and surrounding areas are sorted out.