Sunday 21 February 2016

The Tumbling Weir by Imogen Robertson

Just a quick one from me today. I wanted to show you this picture of water with a hole in it. 

This is the Tumbling Weir at Ottery St Mary in Devon. It’s a unique cast iron structure, built in the late 18th century to take excess water from the mill leat back to the River Otter. The pond was raised to provide extra power for a new mill built by local philanthropists of the time who saw the hardships the locals were suffering as the local woollen industry declined. It was never an unqualified success, but provided employment for many of the population for over a hundred years. 

A sign overlooking the weir told us the site was cleared by volunteers when it was in danger of being choked with rubbish and weeds. Good for them. The mill itself is derelict and deserted, or ‘awaiting development’ if you prefer. We need another philanthropist. I suggested converting the building into a retreat for writers and artists, complete with performance space and world-class library. Mind you, I say that whenever I see a large deserted building. My husband suggested subsidised workshops for local craftsmen and women. We compromised on both. There. We have a plan.

Ottery  has much to recommend it. The church is stunning, Coleridge was born in the town and every bonfire night local men run around the place with flaming tar barrels on their shoulders. One of the regulars told us all about it in the pub, and showed us his scars. ‘Health and Safety…,’ he said, shaking his head,  ‘… is a nightmare.’

I’ll bet it is. 

Now bring me an oligarch. 


Susan Price said...

To your tent? Well scrubbed? :)

Imogen said...

Indeed! With a flaming tar barrel on his shoulders ideally.