We are inspecting architects for the museum, which is operated by Lancashire County Council. The site includes Higher Mill, a woollen mill with water wheel powering fulling stocks and Whitaker’s Mill a cotton spinning mill. The mills are each listed grade II*, the chimney and viaduct are also listed. The mill complex as a whole is a scheduled ancient monument.
We have carried out a condition survey, a maintenance plan and a Conservation Management Plan. These aim to inform contractors and staff of the significance of the building fabric, objects and spaces in order plan and allow planned repair regime to be implemented. Part of this is an ongoing proposal for a management agreement with English Heritage to allow repairs to be carried out without the need to seek Scheduled Monument Consent for each repair.
Wider phases of repair are proposed to both Mills on the site, including repointing, reroofing and works to the chimney. Works are due to start on site in summer 2015.
The major first phase of the work is the restoration of the waterwheel in Higher Mill. A bracing kit fitted in the 1990’s was repaired in 2013 allowing the wheel to be returned to operation to maintain the timbers in a wet condition. Grants were been obtained from Prism and the Cotton Industry War Memorials Trust for the renewal of the waterwheel arms, this work was carried out in late 2014 and the wheel is now fully operational with the bracing kit removed. A further phase of work is intended to restore the sole, heel and bucket boards (the remaining timbers of the wheel). This is currently dependent on grant funding.