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Victorian machinery comes to life at Yorkshire Dales mill

[Wednesday 29 July 2009]
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Gayle Mill

THE sights and sounds of Victorian woodworking machinery will fill Gayle Mill, near Hawes, as several special demonstration days are staged for visitors.

On Sunday, (2 August), and on the first Sunday in September and October, visitors will be able to experience the dramatic atmosphere in the mill as the original Victorian machinery springs to life.

Using water power from Gayle Beck, a 19th century turbine will use a series of belts and pulleys off a central line-shaft to drive a circular saw, a planer thicknesser, a band saw and two lathes from 1879 and earlier. Expert volunteers will make parts for gates, doors and other items using traditional joinery techniques - a familiar sight in the mill in the early 20th century.

Tony Routh, the last apprentice to be trained in Gayle Mill during the early 1960s, will be working with William Lambert and Mike Thomson, all directors of the Gayle Mill Trust.

“I never thought I would be back at Gayle Mill using this machinery almost 50 years after I left” said Tony, who is a distant relative of Oswald and Thomas Routh, who built Gayle Mill in 1784.

All the machinery was installed in Gayle Mill when it was converted into a saw mill in 1879. Piece by piece each machine has been restored back to full working order by a dedicated team of volunteers.

As well as seeing the machinery in operation, visitors will learn about people who were important figures in Gayle Mill’s history.

There are two special tours starting at 11am and 2.30pm, each lasting about 2 hours. Tickets, which include light refreshments, are £10 for adults and £5 for children (age 7-15), are available from Gayle Mill (01969 667320) and the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes (01969 666210). Visitors are advised to book in advance as each session is limited to 25 places owing to constraints within the building.

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