In reply to Robin Pennies letter in the 21 June Todmorden News headed” Water Wheel proposal requires a lot more careful thought” I fully agree with him, much preliminary work has been done but there is a great deal more to be done even more than he mentions, perhaps more even than he has thought of.
When Todmorden Civic Society supported my proposal that I should look into the possibility of placing a Water Wheel in or near to the original site chosen by Fielden’s at Waterside, I consulted Storahs Architects who kindly gave me sight of a number of relevant old plans, The Environmental Agency about what they had uncovered when working on the site, Mr Roger Birch who supplied many interesting photographs. Morrison’s, Mr Malcolm Heywood co author of the excellent book The History of Todmorden and, wait for it Robin, Dr Bob Cattley PhD MSc scientist and consultant engineer at Northern Millwrights.
In this type of investigation into the feasibility of a proposal I consider it very necessary to recognize the limits of ones knowledge and take on board people with the required expertise, consulting a book published in 1903 is of some historical interest, but in 100 years things have moved on and I respectfully suggest in instances like this we should make use of this up-to-date knowledge to enable the reconstruction of some desirable important parts of our heritage in such a way that it is able to fit in with today’s requirements
In Robin’s article he states he is not clear whether the aim is to produce a piece of sculpture or a working example.
If he had read the earlier article in the Todmorden News, it is stated that the ongoing investigation has the aim of producing a water wheel of significant size on or near to the original site and would be a working demonstration, so I suggest it would be both a sculpture and a working example and in line with our current information on the water courses etc, could look as shown in Saul Caldwell’s excellent artist’s impression.
It is not an engineer’s working diagram.
There is and never was any intention of interfering with the Environment Agency scheme. In fact, there is not the slightest chance of this happening since the EA would have to licence any and every part of the water wheel installation. It is a possibility that the recent flooding that happened to Laneside houses may be avoided in the future by using some of the proposed water wheel water courses.
Finally there is no intention or necessity to dig up Shade School play area to recreate Fielden’s Lodge because when you are using a water wheel as the power source for a mill working certain hours in a day, storing water in a dam is helpful in attempting to have water when its needed. If you are using water to generate electricity there is not the same necessity to have a lodge to store water because electricity can be put into the national grid any time there is water to produce it.
I hope Robin has not had his interest in waterpower dampened since it is I suggest mechanically interesting, an important part of our heritage and probably of greater significance as energy prices increase.
Trevor Cryer, Todmorden.