Marlborough’s Town Mill ceased to be a working mill in 1922 and was demolished in the 1980s to make way for a housing development of the same name. However, its historic mill wheels were saved for posterity.
And on July 22 and 23 the two wheels were moved from storage to a new temporary home at The Old Ropeworks, Kennet Place – as pictured. Ropeworks owner, Mike Fernley, has agreed to store them for safekeeping.
A small group of local volunteers, led by Rob and Angie Dickens and Val Compton, arranged and assisted with the move which brings the two wheels close to their original riverside home.
Weighing around four tons it was no easy feat to move the mill wheels the short journey from the council depot and workshop at Salisbury Road Recreation Ground to Kennet Place. The volunteers were assisted by transport company R.J Lampard & Co. Ltd.
This now frees up much needed space in the busy Town Council workshop and makes room for the equipment used by the council’s Grounds Team.
The ultimate aim of the initiative to move the mill wheels is to restore them and display them close to the original site of the old Town Mill.
A Project Group is being set up and volunteers can be involved through their community Facebook page.
Val Compton, who lives in Kennet Place, was delighted with the move: “Not in my wildest dreams, did I think this project would ever get off the ground. Seeing these beautifully engineered mill workings arrive in Kennet Place was an extraordinarily emotional moment!”
Mike Fernley has confirmed that anyone wanting to view the machinery is welcome to see it at The Old Ropeworks during opening hours. Needless to say, engineering enthusiasts will be welcomed onto the new project group.
The Town Mayor, Councillor Mervyn Hall, is well versed in the town’s history: “This is a great step forward and our thanks go to Rob and Angie Dickens, Malcolm Lampard and Val Compton for taking this forward. Also, of course, to Mike Fernley for storing it. We are all looking forward to the time when the mill wheels will again sit proudly in Marlborough to remind us all of our magnificent and varied history.”