Worsley Mesnes Ironworks2 Comments
Photo: RON HUNT
Item #: 30337
The three pithead winding wheels which, presumably, had already been machined, stand upright side by side, while that shown at top left - partially hidden by its accommodating 'pit'-, stands in prime position for machining. The task of machining these wheels was given to Brian Shawcross.
The path of decking boards was overrun by the fitters, Alan Fairclough and Teddy Benson were two whom I recall.
I remember asking Alan, during one of my rambles ('fresh-faced apprentices were pretty good at going on walkabouts.'), "What's that blue stuff that you're using?", to which he replied "It's Engineer's blue, and it's used to identify unwanted high spots on gib-head keys; removing the high spots allows the keys a more accurate fit when they are driven firmly into place, later.
Teddy Benson always reminded me of the 1950's footballer Eddie Colman - a bit of a Teddy Boy.
The belts of the overhead line shafts were repaired frequently, and the task of repairing them was given to Brian Shawcross's dad Jimmy.
Impregnable toolboxes could be had by welding steel plates to the front and backs of the paired upright girders, and then capped. But for most, stout wooden lockers were preferred to those and, also, to factory-made metal chests ... and woe betide anyone ... .
It is the main shop at Worsley Mesnes Ironworks. The three wheels are in fact the three internal parts of a parallel winding drum, around which the ropes where attached to raise and lower cages at a pit. These drums were assembled in the pit and then scrolled to allow the wire ropes to unwind in each direction. You can see the slide bars and cylinders erected in the picture. Fabulous!