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Author Topic: The Brunel Sawmill  (Read 41658 times)

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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2011, 21:34:55 »
Master Attendant to Navy Board: increased demand upon sawmill

[TNA, ADM106/1833]

11 October 1827

Averting to your letter of the 6th inst. desiring the saw mills may be worked day and night for the intended dwellings at Fernando Po. I beg to acquaint you that as there are not two sets of workmen in the yard capable of working the mill and as strangers would do but little with the machinery compared with the experienced men, they are of opinion that the men usually employed in the saw mills work extra from daylight in the morning until dark at night and on Sundays. They would cut more materials than persons unaccustomed to the particular motions of the machinery in the night. They have further stated that the steam engine must be employed about three hours every night, to pump water for the use of the dockyard, Royal Marines and convicts.

I beg to add that it has been judged expedient in order to prevent any delay, to arrange for workmen at the saw mill, with one millwright and shipwright to work until dark this evening and all day tomorrow (Sunday) and to come into the yard at half past four o’clock on Monday morning.


(Macdougall ‘Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865’)



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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2011, 18:41:23 »
Architect to Victualling Board: employment of saw mill engine.

[TNA, ADM114/40]

16 March 1827

I beg to lay before you the following information respecting the means of supplying water at Chatham Hospital for your guidance – The supply of water for the houses in the dock yard and for the Marine Barracks flows from a reservoir near the saw mill into which it is pumped by the engine – This Reservoir, being only 15 feet above the cill of the dock yard entrance gates is high enough to supply the Marine Barracks (which lies lower). It will not answer for the hospital, the Cistern of which is 60 feet above that level.

If therefore the supply is to be from the dock yard the water must be forced up by the engine, as high as the top of the building. The pipes will answer this purpose as far as the dock yard gates, and may be continued from there to the hospital premises. I should advise a puddle reservoir, to contain 500 tons of water, to be formed in the small piece of ground A annexed which is the only part of the government premises that is sufficiently high for the water to flow, thence to the level of the roofs of the pavilions where some of the cisterns are. The water will soften and exposure to the air in this reservoir and the supply will always be certain, whilst the most convenient times may be taken for renewing it by the engine in the course of the week.

It will be useless to alter the system of supply to the Marine Barracks because it would only add to the labour by lifting the water to an unnecessary height.

There is no doubt that the saw mill engine can perform this service at such hours. It would not be disadvantageous that it should be so, because the steam is always kept up. In the event of a fire with a main pipe along the side of the hospital and buildings the force of the engine could be applied which is far more efficient than the ordinary flow from the reservoir which however will be very desirable for the supplying of water for consumption.

I am not disposed to credit this report that the dock yard water is not good and find various options therein, but if that should be the case then the well in the garden at B may be deepened and enlarged and an engine of about 4 or 6 horse power may be put up hereafter to supply the Reservoir. The connection of pipes with this to the Dock Yard may be found advantageous to both parties in case of emergency at either place.

A sample of water from the well at the Ordnance Barracks, that of the dock yard and that of W. Baldocks close to the Hospital have been produced to be analysed.


(Macdougall ‘Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865’)



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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2011, 18:58:18 »
Commissioner Cunningham to Navy Board: steam machinery problems

[TNA, ADM 106/1832]

19 January 1826

With reference to your letter of the 11th inst., desiring that one of the wrought iron boilers ordered in May last of Mr. Maudslay for the saw mill, be put up in lieu of the boilers sent from Mr. Lloyd, which on trial was found to be so badly made as to be quite unfit for use. I acquaint you that the boilers in question, have not yet been delivered by Mr. Maudslay, and request that they (or one of them) maybe sent into s[t]ore without further delay.

At present there is but one boiler to work the engine at the saw mill, and that, although said to work in May last, is now in so bad a condition, it is with the greatest difficulty a sufficient quantity can be produced to impel the machinery; and without some prompt measures are pursued, it is expected that the sawing apparatus must stand still, for want of a boiler to work the steam engine.


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2011, 18:45:36 »
Commissioner Cunningham to Navy Board: commentary on submitted sawyers' petition

[TNA ADM106/1828]

10 March 1824

They beg to state to you the nature of the timber from it being kept under cover is very hard and more difficult to cut than formerly. They further beg to state that they labour under a greater disadvantage than any other yard on account of the sawmill, which deprives them of the best and lightest work of the yard.


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2011, 18:39:35 »
Minutes of Navy Board committee of Visitation: sawmill

[TNA, ADM106/3233]

30 September 1819

The committee viewed the sawmills and machinery appertaining thereto for stacking timber &c. They were much satisfied with works going on there, the same being extremely well executed, seven of the sawing machines were at work and the whole eight may be worked.

The Master of the Mill was directed to prepare an account of the full particulars of the quantity of work, which may be executed.


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')



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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2011, 19:10:54 »
Admiralty to Commissioner Barlow: treenail mooting machinery

[NMM, CHA/E/126]

25 June 1817

We have received your letter of 21st inst. informing us that Mr. Beale has completed his treenail machinery attached to the sawmill in your yard. We direct you to prepare a scheme of task for mooting treenails by the machinery in question and submit the same for your approval.


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2011, 19:06:20 »
Marc Brunel to Navy Board: objection to use of mill for storage

[NMM, CHA/F/30]

30 March 1817

It will perhaps be said that the spare area is as well calculated as any other part of the yard for the stowage of other material; but viewing it with all the advatages that are coupled with its present disposition, I would consider it would be as great a waste of its present means, as any part of the mill itself, if it was converted into a store.


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2011, 19:17:14 »
Navy Board to Commissioner Barlow: sawmill expenses

[NMM, CHA/F/30]

17 February 1817

Expense of building the engine with a canal, tunnel &c by the people of the yard:

Cost of Materials used     £27,551
Cost of workmen            £13,764

Total                             £41,315


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2011, 19:12:40 »
Marc Brunel to Admiralty: timber for other yards

[TNA, ADM106/2272]

15 January 1817

With respect to the sawmills we beg leave to state that it is not only employed in cutting such articles for that yard which a saw mill can be applied but also for other yards.

(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2011, 11:25:44 »
Description of the Sawmill

[Wildash, The History and Antiquities of Rochester, p.73]

1817

At the northeast extremity of the yard some new works have lately been constructed, commonly called the sawmills, projected and executed by that modest and persevering mechanic, Mr. Brunel, who has effected as much for the mechanic arts as any man of his time. These sawmills, as the name imports, are employed in converting the fir timber used in the service of the yard into planks or boards; and are erected on an eminence about 35 feet above the level of the lowest part of the yard. To the ground on the north side of the mill; which is appropriated to the stowage of timber, balks are floated from the river by means of a canal which runs open about 250 feet: this canal on entering the rising ground becomes a tunnel in length about 300 feet, and empties itself into an elliptical basin the length of which is 90 feet, the breadth 72 feet, and the depth 44 feet. The operation of raising the timber from this basin is worthy of observation; and the steady, though quick motion with which it ascends is truly astonishing. We have witnessed a balk of 60 feet long, and 16 inches square, raised to the top of the standard 60 feet in the space of 60 seconds! The sawmill is constructed on a very extensive scale; and the mechanism of it may be reduced to three principal things: the first, that is the saw drawn up and down as long as is necessary, by a motion communicated to the wheel by steam; the second, that the timber to be cut into boards is advanced by a uniform motion to receive the strokes of the saw: for here the wood is to meet the saw, and not the saw to follow the wood, therefore the motion of the wood and that of the saw immediately depends the one on the other; the third, that where the saw has cut through the whole length of the piece, the whole machine stops of itself, and remains immovable: lest having no obstacle to surmount, the moving power should turn the wheel with too great velocity, and break some part of the machine.


(Macdougall ‘Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865’)


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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2011, 23:00:35 »
As I have said, due to Marc being a French National (who had we just had a bit of a 'do' with in 1815?), he was not allowed into HM Dockyard(s). I think Ellicombe must have been Brunel's agent on site as Marc seems to think very highly of him. S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline helcion

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2011, 22:40:58 »
Good for Brunel !         Looks like the Human Resources Department was alive & well & cutting costs back as early as 1816.

Cheers

Helcion

Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2011, 21:25:36 »
Navy Board to Commissioner Barlow: retention of sawmills superintendent

[NMM, CHA/F/29]

30 May 1816

In consequence of your letter of the 24th inst. we have consented to Mr. Ellicombe remaining a further time in the superintendence of the works of the sawmill at your yard, but we have desired Mr. Brunel to let us know how much longer it is likely that Mr. Ellicombe's attendence there will be absolutely necessary, and we have to request that you will satisfy yourself and make us acquainted with the necessity that exists for continuing his services at the public expense, under the directions of Mr. Brunel.

(Macdougall  'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2011, 21:18:47 »
Marc Brunel to Navy Board: objection to dismissal


[NMM CHA/F/29]

23 May 1816

In reference to your communication of the 9th inst. which I received on my return from the continent, informing me that you have now desired Commissioner Sir Robert Barlow to signify to Mr Ellicombe, that his services were no longer required at Chatham to superintend the works connected with the sawmill. I beg to observe that I cannot but express my surprise at the nature of the communication, no less than at the manner [in which] it is conveyed.

Had I been asked whether his services were required for superintending the work already connected with the sawmill, or were necessary to it, I should have not hesitated on the answer I should have had to return. But when I took over what Mr. Ellicombe has had to do, and what he has to do, for establishing the carriage now preparing and also for disposing the means and connecting the powers whereby the timber is to be conveyed to and fro and spread over the ground; I should easily have accounted how far the abilities and services of that gentleman were necessary for the establishment, had I been honoured from you, with a previous application such as my situation and the confidence I have hitherto be honoured with, had given me a right to expect at the hands on the honourable Navy Board.

If for so short a period as 2 or 3 weeks, Mr. Ellicombe’s exertions and labours have not been so actively and usefully employed as they were before, it is because others have not been so expeditious in the executions of the works they had to perform, as I had expected. The work I allude to, namely that which is intended to convey the power through the whole course of the railway is ready to be forwarded to Chatham.

If at this period, I am deprived of the services of Mr. Ellicombe to effect that which I have imparted to him during the gradual progress of that undertaking, or in the course of correspondence that has subsisted between both him and myself, I shall be under the necessity of making more frequent journeys to and from Chatham, a circumstance attended with great inconvenience to me and of greater expense to the public than Mr. Ellicombe’s charges could possibly have been.

Mr. Ellicombe’s services have not been continued by me, solely for superintending the sawmill; but for directing the execution of the work in general, and for giving them the effect they should arrive at, before they can be left to the management of others – The manner he has already acquitted himself of the trust placed in him, justifies, in a vert satisfactory way, the choice I have made. No part of the work evinces greater proof of his abilities and judgement than the manner in which the timber lifting apparatus has been put up and put into action.

What remains to be fixed cannot be combined with the existing works, nor connected as it should be, unless I have the entire management of the concern as I have hitherto had, and unless I have the choice of the instruments I think necessary to my purpose.

Mr. Ellicombe being from his superior education – liberal connections, and from his uncommon acquirements fitted, in every respect, I trust that your Honourable Board has no personal objection to him, [and that] he will be allowed to continue where he is, in the character of my confidential agent, in superintending my Chatham engagements, until I have completed it, waiting for your Honourable Board’s directions and instructions.


(Macdougall ‘Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865)


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Offline cliveh

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Re: The Brunel Sawmill
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2011, 16:57:26 »
Navy Board to Commissioner Barlow: dismissal of sawmill superintendent

[NMM, CHA/F/29]


9 May 1816

We have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 2nd instant in which you state that you are not aware of the necessity for the further attendance of Mr. Elliscombe to superintend the works connected with the sawmills, and we desire that you will signify to Mr. Elliscombe that his services are no longer required at Chatham.


(Macdougall 'Chatham Dockyard 1815-1865')


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