Great Laxey Mines

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August, 2018

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Named after the wife of the then Lieutenant General, the beautifully restored waterwheel was built in 1854 to pump water from the Great Laxey Mines industrial complex. It was capable of pumping 250 gallons of water a minute from a depth of 200 fathoms (1200’). Each of the 168 slats round the perimeter of the wheel holds 24 gallons of water and could generate around 200 horse power.

The wheel was painted bright red, black and white and with its Three Legs of Mann, can be seen from all over the valley.

A series of lades was built to collect water from the surrounding hillsides and was collected in a cistern. A closed underground pipe took the water to the base of the wheel tower. As the cistern was higher than the top of the wheel, water was pushed to the top by gravity. The water runs underneath the viewing platform into the slats which turn the wheel.

A wooden crank turns the rotary movement into a horizontal movement. It is attached to a very long rod which runs along the rod viaduct to the Engine shaft. The other end is attached to a counterweight.

A T rocker at the Engine Shaft is connected to the pump rod in the Engine Shaft and converts the horizontal movement to a vertical movement.

The engine shaft contained five plunger pumps at different depths. On the downward stroke, these forced water through a one way valve into the main pipe. On the upward stroke, the valves shut pushing water up the pipe. Once it reached the main adit, the water then drained away into the Laxey River.

The wheel is an amazing example of Victorian engineering at its best. The climb up the narrow spiral staircase to the viewing platform at the top is not for the faint hearted but is worth doing to look down and watch the wheel turning, as well as for the views across the valley.

There is more information and pictures “here.”:


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