Visiting English Heritage sites – Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Our third visit was to a site of industrial importance.  Stott Park Bobbin Mill used to be a hive of industry, being one of many such places in Cumbria (or Cumberland and Westmorland and part of Lancashire as it was then) to produce bobbins for use in the textile mills of Lancashire, Yorkshire and farther afield.

Stott Park Bobbin Mill
Stott Park Bobbin Mill

The day we chose to visit was one of the regular steam days.  The horizontal engine, which drove the lathes and other machinery, was working.  The guided tour was extremely well done and lasted about 45 minutes.  Admission to the mill building is only permitted with a guide;  tours are repeated at hourly intervals through the day.  The life of the workers in the mill was portrayed with words and actions.  The dangers of the working conditions and the production of coppice poles, which were grown locally were explained.  From these poles items other than bobbins were also manufactured at the mill.

The Exhibition in the wood-drying barn
The Exhibition in the wood-drying barn

We ate a picnic lunch in the grounds and took a scenic route home.  It would have been possible to go on to visit Furness Abbey again and see the Medieval Fair, which was taking place that day.  However we enjoyed the outing we had and returned home with time to catch up with other members of the family using modern means of communication.

In the days of the mills there was not the kind of technology we have today.  I was impressed by the design and engineering of the engine, though.  The Victorians were very good at what they did.  At one time there was a water-wheel at the mill.

The mill stream
The mill stream

It was interesting that the people on the tour included some with an interest in steam engines and others, whose ancestors had worked in the textile industry.   Workers in wood and social historians would also find much of interest.  There were no young people in this party, but  there is plenty to learn here about how young people lived in former times.  Stott Park Bobbin Mill was the first industrial site to be saved for the nation.  It was a forerunner of Quarry Bank Mill, National Trust – a place we have enjoyed visiting several times.


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