Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ben Copedo, and the mill wheel at Mill Cottage

Continuing from Henderson's Mill:

Ben Copedo is one of West Auckland's foremost historians and researchers. I have the highest regard for him and his work, because he questions everything, checks everything, and publishes research that helps others following behind. Now and then, sometimes more frequently during some periods than others, I call him up on the phone with a question, or to tell him about something I've found which I think he'll be interested in -- and he always is. I consider him one of the major influences on the way I go about my own research.

He's given me some feedback, and aside from some typos (whoops!), his comment is regarding the site of the original mill (not so much "near" the confluence of the two rivers, but 700-800 metres up from it), and regarding the model mill wheel there today. I used the term "replica" -- Ben quite rightly pointed out it isn't a replica, for these reasons (quoting his notes sent to me): it is ..
"An approximately half size example of a water wheel with a small workshop behind it was built in 1995 to celebrate Henderson's official sesquicentary. The original water wheel may have been 6 feet (1.8m) wide and 18 feet (5.5m) in diameter and was almost certainly "overshot" and not "low breast shot" as is the one at present on display."
The model was built by David Harre (noted for, amongst other things, his rescue work with old trams) with funding from the local licensing trust, Waitakere City Council took control, but today it is administered (I've checked with a member of the WAHS committee today) by the West Auckland Historical Society.

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