Feel the heat in steam-powered Victorian mill day
Original steam engines at a working wool museum will be fired up to give visitors a sense of how it feels to work in a Victorian mill.
The 'Steam Up' event at Coldharbour Mill Working Wool Museum in Uffculme, Devon, will also give people a chance to see Victorian spinning and weaving machines in action, as well as a fully restored water wheel built especially for the mill in 1821.
Coldharbour Mill is a 200-year-old spinning mill built by Thomas Fox to spin woollen – and later worsted – yarns in 1799. Its website says it is a rare surviving example of Georgian architecture, industry and enterprise. It remained a working factory until 1981, when the national recession and increasing popularity of manmade fibres forced it to close.
The mill's rare 1910 Pollitt and Wigzell steam engine, 1867 Kittoe and Brotherhood beam engine and Lancashire boiler will be operating under steam from 11am on Sunday, October 27.
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Museum administrator Peter Fisher said: "This is our most popular attraction, people get to see the engines whenever they visit, but to actually see them working is an added bonus."
In addition to the permanent exhibitions at the mill, there will also be craft demonstrations and an exhibition of hand weaving.
Tours of the mill allow visitors to see the process of turning combed worsted tops into knitting yarn on Victorian era spinning and twisting frames.
The event, which usually runs six times a year during school holidays, has been going since the early 1990s.
On 'Steam Up' days, the engines run between 11am and 4pm. The mill site, shop and restaurant are open from 10.30am.