Whitley Bridge Mill was originally built in 1870s by John and Thomas Croysdale. Powered by electricity and steam, the mill utilised roller milling, a technique that had revolutionised the flour industry. For more than 100 years the mill was owned by James Bowman & Sons Ltd. Bowmans ceased operations at the mill in 2016 after making the decision to move away from flour milling, and the mill was subsequently closed.
Much of the machinery and equipment had been sold at auction, and extensive damaged caused to the building during the removal of the equipment. However enough remained to make this an interesting visit. The building is like a maze, and we kept find more and more bits every time we thought we'd covered the entire place. Visited with @The Amateur Wanderer.
Archive image of the mill
The mill as it stands today
Autoroller roller mills
More roller mills
The roller mills were the main machinery in the flour milling process
One of the few remaining original windows, although now with a metal sheet covering
The laboratory was quite interesting
Note the Bowmans logo used to form a pattern in the tiles
Rear exterior and silos
Visited here twice over the span of a week, once with the SO, and the second with mookster,Brewtal, Zotez and obscurity.
It's a big place and I didn't realise how much I'd missed till the second visit!
Bulstrode house (listed grade II) lies towards the centre of the park. Rebuilt by Benjamin Ferrey 1860-2 for the twelfth Duke of Somerset, probably incorporating elements of the earlier buildings, it is a rambling, red-brick, Tudor-style building with an imposing tower over the main, north entrance and a French Renaissance-style colonnade on the south front giving access to the adjoining south terrace. The enclosed Inner Court, a service courtyard, is attached to the east side of the house, with various C20 buildings close by. Attached to the north-east corner of the house is the Outer Court, entered from the forecourt through a Gothic arch with a ducal crest in the gable, flanked by railings and brick piers with stone caps. The other three sides of this court have a Gothic loggia fronting a single-storey building; access to the Inner Court is through a gateway on the south side.
In 1966, the community moved to Kent, and the property was bought by WEC International, a Christian evangelist missionary organisation who have gradually restored and improved the public parts of the house's interior.
The house was put up for sale in 2016 and it's now intended to be turned into a luxury hotel. It was also used recently as a film set for the latest Johnny English film.
A pretty simple one, apart from having to wade through a muddy bog in a field. The house is huge and even after a few hours I felt like I'd need a re-visit the following week to see the rest of it, especially with the snow and ice making parts like the rooftops terrifying slippery. The second visit was a lovely sunny day and much more pleasant.
Unfortunately the local kids have been getting in and really smashing the place up good and proper. A real shame as its got some really nice original features.
The Fire alarms still worked and these were pretty much going off 24/7, which was great to cover up the noise of us moving around inside, but also really really annoying! However Brewtal made it his personal mission to find the fuseboard and turn them off. Took him a little while but he did it! Bliss at last.
When WEC International left in 2016 they stripped out pretty much everything and so a good chunk of the rooms are empty and not too interesting. However the whole lower floor/Basement level had some really nice interesting bits and the power still worked!
We were doing really well until we set off some PIR alarms in one of the outbuildings while we were leaving. Whoops!
Turned out to be a great explore!
The clock tower mechanism which still could be operated.
The Basement level. Most the lights worked!
According to a report in August 2018 there were 18 pubs closing in the UK every week with 476 closures in the first 6 months of that year. It's a sobering (sorry) thought for someone like me who appreciates an ale or six in a nice hostelry.
There are records showing The Bridge Inn here going back to around 1875 although how far back it dates is unclear. It closed permanently in 2013 and planning permission was given for change of use. I had the feeling that work was starting on redeveloping it when I was there.
The Welsh name is Tafarn Y Bont - I wouldn't say there's anything that makes it distinctly Welsh - but its a good example of a traditional British pub which still has a few old features. It was nice that it seemed pretty untouched in the years since it closed.
Browns Island is located on a river in the Midwest, the island has a long, interesting history. It was noted by George Washington during his travels, and Meriwether Lewis from the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped there in 1803, on the site there's an ancient Native mound, and early petroglyphs existed on the head of the island. For around 100 years the island was privately owned and farmed until 1957, when a steel company bought it to build a coke plant. There was also a mail plane crash on the island in 1933 that killed the pilot and passenger. In Dec of 1972, right before the Coke Ovens started operating, there was a gas explosion which killed 21 construction workers, the oven were operational until 1982, eventually, they were demolished and the island sold slag for commercial use until 2008. Although there were no ovens standing, it was still an interesting explore, my neighbor and grandfather worked here when the Mill used it. I was very fortunate to get permission to go on it