As we approached Etruria we caught site of our first Bottle Kiln, and a very large pair of Binoculars!
On coming out of the lock we turned sharp right to enter The Caldon Canal. After mooring up we walked back to the Etruria Industrial Museum and had coffee and cake before exploring the works. It is actually called Jesse Shirley’s Bone and Flint Mill. This is the Flint Kiln where the flint was calcined (roasted) to make it easier to grind. When it was ready it passed out through ‘draw-holes’ in the base and passed into The Crusher Room.
The Pan Room is on the left where the fine grinding of the bone and flint took place in water. The Cornish coal fired Boiler of c1903 provided the steam to power the engine, ‘Princess’, the 1820’s Beam Engine that powered all the machinery through various vertical and horizontal gears and shafts. It is thought to be the oldest one still in use, although today was not one of their in steam days. There were some large Whale and Elephant bones displayed on the wall. A newspaper cutting also told of Mona a 38 year old Indian Elephant of Bostock and Wombwells Circus who died in Hanley in 1898 after eating poisonous leaves from an Irish Yew Tree. Also in the article it states that there was thought to be an elephant graveyard hereabouts. However the elephant meat was probably fed to the circus lions and the bones ground up and made into Bone China here. So, poor Mona was probably distributed throughout many bone china tea-sets at the turn of the century.
A couple of old working boats, Keppel and Lindsay, in BW blue and yellow livery were moored alongside the mill. Some BW workers ware fixing the leaky wharf wall to stop the ingress of canal water into the basement of the mill. The Trent and Mersey was busy with boat movements today so we had the opportunity to chat while waiting for the locks.