Saturday, August 25 – ‘A Tour of Inspection’

I have had a rather mixed day.  Met Tom Idle at Barton Bridge, 9am today, from where we went through Trafford Park, stopping on the way to view the big new electricity works.  I heard that the motors and engines so shake the building that they have to be stopped at intervals.  After a rather dull run we came to Owens University College of Manchester, where we dumped the bikes and proceeded to explore the Museum.  We spent two and a half hours inside the buildings, amongst Egyptian mummies, rocks, fish and all kinds of mild and ferocious animals (stuffed), and rare collections of beautiful birds, until at length we got fed up and made our exit via the Fossil Department.

Then followed a bewildering run through the lovely (!) suburbs to Tom’s home, just in time for dinner.  The afternoon proved vastly interesting.  Tom had got permission to visit the neighbouring Stuart Street electricity works, the biggest in Manchester.  Our guide showed us the various coal tippers, wagon lifters etc, one length of travelling buckets, he said, went for 3.5 miles up and down the site, and moved continually at 14 mph.  Then the boilers, which are mechanically fed and cleaned.  The inside of one was like Dante’s Inferno.  The pumps, economisers and store room were visited.  Their engine room itself defies description and everything was spotlessly clean.  I am not going to try to describe what I saw – in fact I should need a volume and a year of writing.  We climbed hundreds of iron ladders all over the place.  Everything was fascinating to the utmost degree, and as we came away, all agreed it had been a most entertaining day.

After tea I discovered that my brake was nearly gone, nine strands of the inside cable were broken.  We spent nearly all night repairing it, and Tom proved to be very adept at the art of soldering.  Afterwards we found it too late to go a run, so Tom did some writing and I some map studying, tracing Roman roads etc until supper time.  I am staying here for the night and tomorrow we shall make an early start for the Snake Pass.  We retired at 11pm, and I have not put today down as a run!

20 miles

 

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