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Author Topic: The Brunel Sawmill  (Read 43641 times)

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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2011, 16:47:13 »
Navy Board to Commissioner Barlow: dismissal of sawmill superintendent

[NMM, CHA/F/29]


23 April 1816

We have to desire that you will inform us whether in your opinion the attendance of Mr. Elliscombe to superintend the works connected with the saw mills at Chatham may not now be dispensed with in consequence of the forward state of those works particularly as we conceive that Mr. Bacon, the Master of the saw mills must now be fully competent to undertake that superintendence himself.


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2011, 16:47:00 »
How much is left of the original machinery?

There was a carpenters firm in there in the late 1990s and early 2000s, not sure if they are  still there or not. I had a 17th century gun carriage made by them, but as far as I can remember pretty well all the machinery was modern electric stuff (Startrite, etc).
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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2011, 16:40:57 »
Royal Visit

[Kentish Gazette]

12 March 1816

On Saturday morning about 10 o'clock the Archduke, attended by Prince Esterhazy, the American Ambassador, visited Chatham Dockyard, and were received, uder a salute from the cannon on the lines, by Commissioner Sir Robert Barlow, who was in readiness to attend and conduct them through the yard. Every part worthy of notice was pointed out to them, particularly the sawmill, which they inspected very attentively for a considerable time; the Archduke John being very inquisitive, and noted in writing many observations. .....

(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')



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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2011, 16:24:50 »
Order-in-Council: appointment of Sawmill Master

[TNA, PC2/197]

30 January 1816

The waterworks connected to the steam engine and sawmill recently erected in Chatham yard being now in a complete state fit to be applied in case of fire to the purpose of forcing water through various parts of the yard; and those works: having on account of their connection with the machinery comprising the sawmill, certain arrangements and combinations adapted to the object as well as the situation, the Principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy have recommended that a Master of the Mill should be appointed to have the superintendence and management of the machinery and other works connected with it, including all the waterworks and pipes about the yard, and that he should be allowed a salary of two hundred and fifty pounds per annum, being the same salary as is allowed to most of the master workmen in His Majesty's Yards.

And as we agree in opinion with them of the expedience in this appointment, we beg leave with all humility to propose to your Royal Highness that a Master of the saw mill for the purposes before stated, may be appointed accordingly with an established salary of two hundred and fifty pounds per annum.

His Royal Highness the Prince Regent having taken the said memorial into consideration was pleased, in the name of His Majesty, and by and with the advice of His Majesty's Privy Council, to approve what is therein proposed, and to order, as it is hereby ordered to, that a said Master of the Sawmill for the purpose stated in the said memorial be appointed accordingly with an established salary of two hundred and fifty pounds per annum. And the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty are to give the necessary directions herein accordingly.

(Macdougall  'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')



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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2011, 12:29:53 »
How much is left of the original machinery?

S4.

I don't think there can be much if anything left in the mill S4. Bilgerat is probably the guy to know.

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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2011, 21:06:21 »
This is awesome. This covers a very neglected man of the Industrial Revolution, Marc Brunel. Being a French National he was not allowed into the Dockyards and therefore had to train up men to do the work unsupervised. It was this work that paid for the young Isambard to be educated to the degree that developed the later genius. After the Dark Satanic Mills from Oop Norf (sorry up North) this was the second (I include both Portsmouth and Chatham in this) instance of mass production in the UK.

How much is left of the original machinery?

S4.
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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2011, 20:29:18 »
Commissioner Barlow to Navy Board: block-making machinery

[TNA, ADM106/1815]

29 December 1815

In reply to your Letter of yesterday's date desiring that a duplicate set of block machinery, which Mr Brunel has been employed to make for the block mill at Portsmouth, be deposited in the room immediately over the boilers of the steam engine for the sawmill in this yard, if I see no objection thereto.

I beg to acquaint you that I am not aware of any objection to the said machinery being so deposited, and I will give directions accordingly and for the same being taken care of.

(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2011, 19:20:14 »
Navy Board to Commissioner Barlow: block making machinery

[NMM, CHA/F/27]

20 December 1815

Mr. Brunel having been employed to make a duplicate set of machinery in the block mill at Portsmouth, to be applied in the event of any accident happening to the machinery at present in use. He having recommended that the machines so provided may be deposited in the room immedietly over the boilers of the steam engine over the sawmill in Chatham yard, which room is entirely proof against fire and particularly eligible on account of its temperature, for the reception and preservation of iron work liable to rust. We desire, as the place pointed out appears from the heat to be fit for the deposit of iron particles, and is represented as inapplicable for a working shop or office, that you will cause these block machines to be deposited there; if you see no objection.

(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')

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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2011, 14:39:03 »
Thanks conan!  :)

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Offline conan

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 13:31:16 »
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2011, 12:40:52 »
The below is from Phillip Macdougall’s fine book ‘Chatham Dockyard, 1815-1865: the industrial transformation’

“The revolution in steam was already forging ahead in 1815, with construction underway of Marc Brunel’s mechanically powered wood mills. The building work was mostly undertaken by the yard’s workforce. Upon completion, the mills transformed the process of timber plank manufacture, able to process quantities from a variety of types of timber at considerable speed both for Chatham and other yards. As a result only a small number of sawyers were retained, these either on a reduced rate of pay, undertaking work in connection with the operation of the mill or carrying out tasks too complex for the saws of the wood mill. Although designed by Marc Brunel, the man responsible for overseeing the completion of the mill was a Mr Ellicombe, upon whom Brunel placed much trust. However, on the appointment of a Master Sawyer of the mills, Ellicombe was considered by the Commissioners at the Navy Board as surplus to requirements. The totality of the finished design, encompassing not only eight sets of circular powered saws but also a canal for the easy movement of newly arrived timber and an overhead rail system which directly connected the mill to an area for the storage of planks, attracted visiting dignitaries and much publicised praise. Not surprisingly, it was subject to inspection by the Commissioners of the Navy Board shortly after it’s completion.

Having been designed to meet the demands of the war-time Navy, the wood mills were soon producing more timber than required leading to part of the building being considered for conversion to storage.

The upper floor accommodated a duplicate set of the block-making machines – Brunel’s other contribution to Britain’s naval dockyards. The wood mill and it’s machinery were put to a multiplicity of uses. Indeed, the steam engine was used to power treenail mooting machinery [any ideas?????] and for pumping water both for the dockyard and nearby Royal Marine Barracks and subsequently the new Melville Hospital that was built opposite the Main Gate. In 1834, it was also proposed that the same engine be used for powering lathes. Despite the early acclaim, William Scamp in 1857 chose to criticise both the location and construction of the mill.”

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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2011, 20:02:50 »
Thanks Cliveh. It would be good to see these items restored and on show. Historically they are very important as these were the first machines made for mass production, blocks and sheaves for the navy. I think they did Portsmouth first and Chatham second and set the store for IK Brunel in later life. S4.
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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2011, 19:28:51 »
Looks like only some of the sawframes and the tunnel remain inside:

http://www.kent.gov.uk/ExploringKentsPast/SingleResult.aspx?uid=MKE30276

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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2011, 18:17:35 »
Is there any of the Brunel/Maudsley machinery left in the building? S4.
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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2011, 14:51:07 »
October 14, 1819

Being led through a subterraneous canal,

I believe this underground canal connected to the South Mast Pond which is now the public car park for the Historic Dockyard.

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