Despite the overnight rain and the rapid advance of autumn, the site was still accessible for the team continue their work. Most of the Machine room floor had been exposed and now required cleaning up ready to be drawn. The remains of the outer walls or shell of the Mill House had been drawn in the past, but not the recently excavated brick floor, which appears to have been damaged during the collapse of the building or by a heavy piece of machinery falling on it.
Another lovely Autumn day here on site enabled our team of seven to continue excavating this old mill, set in the tranquil countryside. Continuing on from last week, more of the Machine Room floor bricks were removed to expose the extent of the metal sheeting underneath, which was installed when the mill was fully functioning to prevent water seepage from below. The whole sheet was around 120cm x 77cm, so quite a significant size, and it was covered with cinders, containing tiny coal fragments, to level surface for the bricks to be laid on top.
Removing some of the brick flooring
The remaining metal sheet now clearly visible.
Meanwhile at the rear south-west wall the heap of mixed sandstone and building rubble was gradually being reduced by strong men wearing hard hats and wielding shovels as others wielded trowels. Sadly, no significant finds have appeared yet here, although everyone would dearly love to find bits of old mill machinery. Two small items of interest did surface however. One was what looked like a small metal stylus pointed at each end, the sort possibly used in conjunction with a waxed tablet, and the other was a tiny doll's leg, probably porcelain. The latter either belonged to a doll's house doll, or the baby of a larger doll.
The new discovery of a filled-in opening.
There were only four members on site today, due to late holidays or people being unwell, etc. It was dry and cloudy, brightening later, and recent rain had dampened the ground. An excavation of the rear floor (South) of the Mill House behind the machinery pit by Jennie, Tina and Keith revealed a bricked area laid directly on top of stone. A small storage area?
Southern end of Machine Room floor
Further along the same back stone wall beneath fallen devris another strange feature was found - a hole in the worked stone partly filled with a yellow brick. Is this an improvised drain?
A view of the Machine Room floor (East wall)
Once Margaret had drawn the brick floor area, Keith, after removing a few bricks as directed, explored an area beside the east wall that simply looked like a deep water-filled hole. This exposed yet another layer of brick flooring beneath the floor! Another surprising discovery was more of the rusted metal sheeting found in an earlier part of the dig while excavating the westerly side of the floor.
It can be safely assumed that this metal sheeting runs all the way beneath this part of the floor and that it confirms it was added as protection from the problem of intermittent rising water levels.
Yet another nice sunny day on site and still pleasantly warm, although everyone wonders how much longer this will last!
Last week's excavations had revealed a purposely blocked up area in the south-west sandstone wall, so this week Terry was determined to investigate the extent of this sandstone base beneath the cottage. He and Gareth lifted a tile in the above Ante Room of the cottage as well as in the Livingroom and, as seen in the photos below, after removing 20cm of mortar, ash and sand, it revealed that it does indeed continue on.
The Ante Room Floor tile lifted
The Livingroom floor tile lifted
Sam emptying yet another wheelbarrow of excavated soil.
Sam and Keith continued to remove the heap of soil and debris from Machine Room’s south west corner, assisted by Jennie. The landowner, Tony Symonds, also made a visit today and is kindly arranging for a digger to come and clear away some more of the soil in mid November.
More floor bricks in the Machine Room removed
Meanwhile Francesca continued to removed even more bricks in here to leave the large metal sheet clearly visible.