McGow's Notes on the Wandle Mills

More positive news.

You may recall we first came across Peter McGow when he told us he had lodged his comprehensive notes on the Surrey Iron Railway with Croydon Library.

Peter will not allow himself to be called Historian, but will accept Researcher. Whatever the answer, we know what we think, and are truly fortunate to have him ensuring the history of our valley is not lost. We have a copy of his Surrey Iron Railway notes, and, with the cessation of publication of the Bayliss book, were considering making Peter's notes the new standard resource for all things Surrey Iron Railway.

Things have changed

Things have changed [80.3kb]

Things have changed. Peter was waiting for us when we opened the Museum on the 1st Sunday in April. With him he had his complete notes on the Mills of the Wandle, beautifully presented in 2 ring binders - some 400 sides of A4!

He has kindly deposited these with us formally, as a Museum resource. They are ours to exploit as we wish, provided we make the information freely available to researchers. This is exactly what we are here to do.

The Pimm Draw Batch clock from our collection

The Pimm Draw Batch clock from our collection [67.3kb]

Those of you who visit our website will see we have got straight on to it. We have scanned in all the pages, and these are already available in electronic image format. All have also been OCR'd, (translated into editable electronic text). However the process by which this can be made usable is rather more long winded. We are making progress, and the first 12 sites, of the 49 he has identified, are now online.

It has long been rumoured that there were up to 90 wheels operated by the Wandle at any one time. When you think that Peter has called the triangle which currently houses Merton Abbey Mills as one site, when we all know of Littler, Bennett, and Liberty operating there, quite apart from the much older Priory mills which have come to light, the figure of 90 becomes more believable

The notes online include his notes on Grove Mill in Carshalton (site no 12), which is in the news since its re-opening by the Sutton heritage services.

Quite by co-incidence, we received an email enquiry in April about the Pimm flour mills in Wandsworth. Our archivist (hon) Marguerite, was able to dig up immediately the original Draw Batch clock illustrated here from our collection, and was able to provide an immediate answer on the context from the McGow notes.

Nicholas Hart

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