Contractors are also in the business of preservation

CONTRACTORS VolkerStevin have offered to preserve a historic Todmorden river sluice gate mechanism at their own expense.

The company is undertaking flood alleviation work for the Environment Agency and the 200-year-old mechanism, at Dawson Weir on Walsden Water, is to be relocated to a new nearby site where it is being reconstructed as a local heritage feature on a site between Oak Street and Bar Street, Shade.

The iron structure will be taken away to be cleaned, repainted and spot welded to ensure there are no health and safety issues from old moving parts and will then be rebuilt this Spring on its original supporting stones.

The feature has to be moved from its original location as part of the £13 million third-phase of a scheme to improve flood defences in Todmorden which began last summer. The flood work is due to be finished in June 2013.

Donald Murray, VolkerStevin project manager for the Todmorden scheme, said: “We felt that, in this case, there was an opportunity to retain a piece of the town’s industrial heritage which would otherwise have been lost and we are pleased that the community has supported our proposals. We now expect to start dismantling the structure in March and we hope to have it restored on its new site in May.”

Todmorden Civic Society chairman Paul Clarke has welcomed the plan and will provide an information board at the new site to explain the history of the Todmorden weir and its significance in providing a major source of energy to drive machinery in local cotton mills.

The weir was once used to provide water power to mills by regulating the flow from Walsden Water through mechanical sluice gate structures via a mill race. This fed a water wheel on the site of what is now Morrison’s supermarket.