Stott Park Bobbin Mill Chimney - Finsthwaite, Ulverston, Cumbria, UK.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Poole/Freeman
N 54° 17.135 W 002° 57.945
30U E 502229 N 6015297
Quick Description: The Stott Park Bobbin Mill located in the village of Finsthwaite, is the only working bobbin mill left in the Lake District today.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/11/2020 7:02:30 AM
Waymark Code: WM12KMD
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member razalas
Views: 1

Long Description:
The square brick built chimney is located at the Stott Park Bobbin Mill in the village of Finsthwaite. The mill that was built in 1835 is the only surviving example of a Lakeland bobbin mill.

In its heyday it was one of over 100 such mills that operated in the Lake District from the 1780s, supplying the millions of bobbins that were vital to the spinning and weaving industries of the Lancashire textile industry.
Wood from the local birch, ash and sycamore trees was used to make wooden tool handles as well as bobbins. Stott Park worked continuously until 1971 and remains almost identical to its Victorian appearance of 100 years ago.

"The first mill of record at Stott Park was created in 1835 as a speculative enterprise by John Harrison, a yeoman farmer of Lakeside. Harrison never intended to run the mill himself, rather, he built it with an eye to leasing the factory to tenants. The mill was first advertised for sale in December 1835.
The Drying Shed
The first lessee at Stott Park was a man named Rushford, but by 1841 the lease had passed to James Bethom. The family most associated with Stott Park, however, was the Coward family, who had an interest in several of the bobbin mills in the area. The Cowards gained a bit of a reputation for their treatment of workers.

Many of the boys and young men who worked in the mill (there are no records of female workers) were drawn from the workhouses of Liverpool and Manchester. The Cowards provided housing for the men in Finsthwaite, but they required the men to buy their supplies at the company's own shop, at prices set by themselves.

Working conditions in a Victorian bobbin mill were poor, though no worse than any other industrial site of that period. Respiratory problems were a constant concern, because of the amount of sawdust produced from the milling process.

The bobbin industry suffered in 1860 when the American Civil War put a damper on the almost insatiable market for cotton and woollen cloth. The industry never really recovered in the latter years of the 19th century, and mills such as Stott Park had to diversify to survive. Thus it was that Stott Park produced a wide variety of wooden implements, from rungs for rope ladders used by the British Navy, to tool handles and toggles for duffle coats.

Diversifying in this fashion helped the mill to survive long after many of its contemporaries had closed down, but all things come to and, and in 1971 the end came for Stott Park Bobbin Mill. The mill was closed, but in 1983 was reopened as a museum under the care of the Department of the Environment, and passed to the care of English Heritage the following year.

The first part of the bobbin making process was actually woodland management. Trees were carefully cut by coppicing when they had reached a certain diameter, then transported to the mill, where they were carefully dried to avoid splitting. Visitors can wander through the woodlands surrounding the mill and see stands of coppiced wood.

Once cut, a coppice took from between 8-16 years to regenerate to the point where the wood was ready to be cut once again. In the early years of bobbin production, the lathes used to turn the blanks of wood were fairly primitive, so the flanges on each end of the wooden cylinder had to be glued on by hand. This was a job for the young boys.

Boys were apprenticed for as long as five years, doing odd jobs like carrying wood and gluing flanges on the finished cylinders. Only after a lengthy period of apprenticeship were the boys allowed to run the lathes that shaped the bobbins.

This apprenticeship period was vital, for the process of working the bobbins was a dangerous one. There were none of the health and safety regulations which are so common today, and the machines had no safety guards to protect the operators.

Workers were paid by how many pieces they produced in a day. A working day might last 12 hours, which sounds like a lot, but it was probably much better work than that enjoyed by workers in the cotton mills further south in Lancashire.

At one end of the mill yard is a coppice barn, one of two that once stood on the site. Here the raw timber was stacked for drying. The large overhanging roof kept the wood relatively dry, while the open sides of the building allowed for air movement to speed the drying process. Wood was dried for a year in the coppice barn before it was ready to be used in bobbin production.

The dried wood is then cut into rough cylinder shapes called cakes. A cake will produce several bobbin blocks; shaped to the approximate size of the desired bobbin. While the bobbin block is still wet it is bored lengthwise - a dangerous operation requiring a great deal of concentration by the machine operator! The bobbins are then shaped to the approximate finished size on a roughing lathe.

The 'roughs' are dried by spreading them on a latticed floor to allow air circulation. Once the roughs are dry, they are finished to the exact desired shape on a finishing lathe. Finally, the finished bobbins are placed in a rotating drum with an amount of paraffin wax for polish. Larger bobbins are polished by hand and might be painted with colour-coded ends depending on the colour of the yarn they were expected to hold.

The mill at Stott Park originally used a water wheel to power its lathes. The Finsthwaite Tarn was dammed, creating High Dam Tarn and the water from the tarn was used to drive the 32-foot water wheel in the mill.
In 1858 the water wheel was replaced by a water turbine which required constant water pressure. This was provided by damming the outflow from High Dam to create Low Dam Tarn. High Dam stored the water and Low Dam regulated the pressure.

In 1880 a steam engine was added, not to replace the water turbine, but to supplement it during the drier summer months when the flow of water in the streams was low.

Most steam turbines of that period ran on coal, but the one at Stott Park was made to run on the wood by-products of the milling process. The original steam turbine was replaced in the 1890s, and again in 1931. Finally, the steam turbines were replaced by a more efficient pair of electric motors in 1941.
The steam turbine can still be seen in operation."
SOURCE: (visit link)
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The mill is Scheduled Monument and the description given by Historic England can be seen at the following link: (visit link)

The mill, now restored as a working industrial monument is run by English Heritage and offers guided tours and steam weekends.
The Victorian machinery that fills the building is still used to drive the cutting, boring and finishing machines than turn long thin poles into bobbins.
You can watch a bobbin being made, and take it home as a souvenir.
There is a small gift shop selling bobbin related products.

The resident curators give demonstrations and guided tours lasting 45 minutes.
The tours start at 10.30 am and are repeated at half past the hour, every 60 minutes.
Opening hours and admission prices can be seen at the following website: (visit link)
Address: Finsthwaite, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8AX

In 2014 Stott Park Bobbin Mill was awarded the title of best small visitor attraction at the Cumbria Tourism Awards and went on to win Silver at the national Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2015.

(visit link)
(visit link)
(visit link)
Private or Public Property?: Public

What material is it made from?: Brick

When was it made?: 1/1/1835

Estimated Height of chimney (please include whether metres or feet): 100ft

Type of building e.g. house, hotel etc: Bobbin Mill

How do you rate it?:

Website with further information: [Web Link]

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