Nether Alderley and Styal Mills

I am a regular guide and miller at Nether Alderley Watermill and an occasional volunteer at Styal Mill, both National Trust properties in Cheshire. At Style I demonstrate and explain to visitors our waterwheel (the most powerful in Europe) and our steam engines; an 1870 horizontal single, and an 1810 (maybe earlier; no-one knows) beam engine.

 The horizontal engine - a double acting single.

The beam engine requires not much more than 1psi of steam.
Most of the power comes from the condenser - it's really an 'atmospheric' engine.

 One Monday afternoon  I was sitting beside the Horizontal Engine thinking what to write for our writing group the next morning. So I just watched the engine... And wrote this:


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Our steam engine
 Hiss ...... sigh. Hiss...... sigh 
The crank goes round and round.
In and out the piston rod.
-It’s power expressed as sound!

The valve eccentric, back and forth
in syncopated rhyme
leads the piston power stroke
in slightly off – beat time

The governor balls are flashing round
at a steady rate of course,
they keep the engine’s speed just right
by centrifugal force.

The ten foot flywheel stores the power
and keeps the engine running.
The brass work gleams, as does the paint.
It’s visually stunning!

Built in 1891
a double-acting single.
Power and presence personified
It makes the senses tingle!
©Vince Chadwick (NT volunteer at Nether Alderley and Styal Mills)


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See the blog for details of Nether Alderley Mill and my Miller training for that role at Cann Mill, Dorset.

Nether Alderley Mill after restoration 2011 / 12, ready for business!