Thwaite Mills and WWII Operation Continuance

Sunday saw a handful of hackspacers take a trip to Thwaite Mills, a local watermill which was in use grinding stone to make putty right up until 1976. The power of the water can really be felt, as the building shakes gently as the water wheels turn the gears and line shafts to power the machinery. Also on site is the family home of the Horn family, the drying shed where the ground stone slurry was dried to powder, the engineers workshop, complete with a forge, and assorted water driven tools (including the largest lathe I’ve ever seen), and on the banks of the canal a steam driven crane which was used for unloading barges of rock and flint.

The mill alone is definitely worth the trip, but on Sunday there was a WWII event on – “Operation Continuance”, so the place was full of people in period costume, both civillian and military, there were vehicles on display, and demonstrations throughout the day, though it has to be said that the Home Guard definitely stole the show, they did warn everyone that things might get a bit loud, but I’m not sure anyone was prepared for the last explosion!

Our transport for the day was “Lazy Jane”, a 40ft narrowboat owned by James who very kindly offered his services as taxidriver (on condition we acted as crew for the locks!). Despite an initial dreary start to the day when we left the dock the weather seemed to improve continuously throughout the day, and it was glorious sunshine from lunchtime onwards, resulting in a very pleasant trip back to leeds, spotting assorted wildlife.

Our next trip is to Middleton Railway on Sunday 26th June.

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