STOTT Park Bobbin Mill harks back to the 19th Century and was water and steam powered. Now under the care of the charity English Heritage, it is situated on the western shore of Windermere, near the picturesque village of Finsthwaite. The mill, which was purpose built in 1835, primarily produced bobbins for the Lancashire textile industry but diversified in the early 20th Century to produce other turned products such as tool handles and duffle coat toggles. Although small compared to other mills, some 250 men and boys’ - some apparently drafted in from workhouses - worked there producing a quarter of a million bobbins a week.

Staff at the mill have been working on the monumental task of conserving a 2.5 tonne boiler which is used to power a steam engine. This fascinating piece of machinery, used for making bobbins, is what's known as a vertical cross tube boiler, built by Walter H Coltman around 1976. It was installed at Stott in the late 1980s to run the steam engine after the boiler on site at the time, a late 19th Century Umpleby boiler, was decommissioned. The steam engine dates to the late 19th Century and is still used today to power the mill machinery. As part of project planning for the conservation work ecology surveys revealed two bat roosts nearby. The project has been designed to ensure that these roosts are not disturbed. The boiler will be taken to an engineering workshop in County Durham for repairs and rebuilding, before being returned to Stott where it will be reinstalled and tested.

During the summer open season (May to September) the story of the mill is brought to life with tours and an exhibition. Visitors can see the journey from tree to bobbin first hand during production on the original belt driven machinery. A hands-on family trail with dressing up for children helps visitors to imagine what it was like to work at the mill.

The mill is open March to October. Steam weekends are held throughout the season. Check the website for more details or call 015395-31087.