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HER Number:MDV61766
Name:Hydro-Electric Installation, Woolcombers Textile Mill, Tavistock


Small hydro-electric power house designed to power textile mill, early 20th century. Simple two storey building with gabled doorways at both levels, west side doorway had upper storey doorway reached by steps. Site now redeveloped for residential use.


Grid Reference:SX 485 747
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTavistock
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX47SE/337

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HYDROELECTRIC POWER STATION (World War I - 1916 AD to 1918 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Map object based on this source.

Monuments Protection Programme, 1999, Electric Power (Additionals) Site Assessment Form (Un-published). SDV350358.

Site visit 4th June 1999. Tavistock Fulling Mill Power House. In Kaminski's Garden Centre, Parkwood road. Hydro-electric installation built 1916-18 to power Devon Woolcombers textile mill. Surplus power sold to West Devon Electric Supply Company. Survives intact. Power house is simple two-storey brick building with corrugated iron roof. Gable doorways at both levels. West side has upper storey doorway reached by steps, and three upper sash windows (upper light six-pane, lower two-pane), plus two lower 12-pane windows under segmental arches. Plant in lower floor consists of water turbine by Hay Maryon Water Engineers of London, governor also by Hay Maryon, two pulleys with flat belt connecting to two identical generators (alternators) one of them marked Newman Industries (of Yate, near Bristol) and GEC - 30 horse power, 720 revs per minute, three phase 440 volt, serial no 9121 - third spare generator no 9123, switchgear by Newman Industries, metering equipment by Landis & Gyr.
To the north of the power house is a concrete-lined leat that brought water from a weir on the River Tavy. The surviving iron grill, leaf scraping mechanism and sluice give on to a large header tank against the power house, and a concrete overflow curves around the power house to the west. Map object based on this source.

Rare survival of intact hydo-electric plant in small power house for textile mill.

Chitty, G., 2000, Electric Power Generation, Step 4 Report, Monument Protection Programme (Report - non-specific). SDV335660.

A small hydro-electric power house designed to power a textile mill. This is a rare survival of an intact hydro-electric plan with excellent range of components of 1916/18 period (water turbine, 3 generators, switchgear)> Surplas power sold to West Devon Electric Supply Co. and added interest with the company's other stations as a group of hydro-electric stations managed together in the early part of the century.

Chitty, G., 2000, MPP Electricity Step 4 Report (Report - Assessment). SDV350356.

Small hydro-electric power house designed to power textile mill. A rare survival of an intact hydro-electric plant with excellent range of components of 1916-18 period (water turbine, 3 generators, switchgear). Currently in low-level use as part of garden centre. Outline permission believed to exist for demolition and residential development.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Area now residential units.

Wreford, M., 21/01/1999, Old Plant - Tavistock (Un-published). SDV350357.

Site visit on 20th January 1999. Generator building is complete with switchgear and turbine. Turbine made by Hay Maryon Water Engineers of London. Blades are disintegrated or missing and 'runner' part is in poor repair. Governor made by same company, and fitted with hand control. Rest of equipment is also Hay Maryon. There are two pulleys with flat belting to two generators, which look identical although the nameplate is missing from one. The other nameplate reads ''Newman Industries'' and is also marked GEC, as is the terminal box. Serial no 9121, and There is a spare (?) generator on the floor, apparently identical, with serial no 9123. This may have come from the neighbouring Farm Industries, when this was redeveloped. Switchgear consists of two 3-phase Landis & Gyr type MF3 3-phase 4-wire meters, both bear West Devon Electricity Supply Company identification and are, no doubt, the meters installed pre-war. These probably registered the individual generation of the two generators. There is also a floor mounting box with no label, which is probably a power factor capacitor.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV335660Report - non-specific: Chitty, G.. 2000. Electric Power Generation, Step 4 Report, Monument Protection Programme. English Heritage. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV350356Report - Assessment: Chitty, G.. 2000. MPP Electricity Step 4 Report. Monument Protection Programme. Unknown.
SDV350357Un-published: Wreford, M.. 21/01/1999. Old Plant - Tavistock. A4 Single Sheet.
SDV350358Un-published: Monuments Protection Programme. 1999. Electric Power (Additionals) Site Assessment Form. Monument Protection Programme. A4 Stapled.

Associated Monuments

MDV78213Part of: Woollen Mill, Parkwood Road,Tavistock (Monument)
MDV61767Related to: Leat from Head Weir to Mount's Foundry, Tavistock (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 9 2019 3:41PM