£20,000 turbine boost for contractor

Allan Beattie and 150 year old turbines at Roberts Mill, Selkirk
Allan Beattie and 150 year old turbines at Roberts Mill, Selkirk
0
Have your say

TURBINES from a bygone era are to be sold from the former fish farm at the edge of Selkirk.

The 140-year-old steel blades and cogs were driven by the Ettrick Water to power machinery in the former Roberts Top Mill.

Roberts Top Mill, Selkirk. Turbine house on left of picture.

Roberts Top Mill, Selkirk. Turbine house on left of picture.

But owner Allan Beattie has decided to sell the two large Victorian generators.

“They’re redundant now, there’s no water to drive them,” he said.

The plant was one of the leading mills in the Scottish woollen industry in the early part of the 20th century, according to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

But it’s estimated the turbines were last used more than 40 years ago and demolition contractor Mr Beattie is about to send in a crane to extract them.

“I remember them working. You could hear them up in the town,” Mr Beattie told The Wee Paper.

One is an estimated 40 tonnes, the smaller one 25 tonnes, and the pair could be worth about £20,000 for scrap.

A friend put them on the internet and there is interest from China and India, Mr Beattie said.

“Whether they go there or to a museum, or whether they are scrap, who knows. I would like them to be saved rather than scrapped,” said Mr Beattie.

“We have got a complete history of how it was constructed stored by the museum service in Hawick.”

Mill builders put the turbines in first and then built the shed around them. About 12ft of the drums is visible, but they go down a further 8ft below the water surface, where they sit on beams.

The river was channelled into the shed above the turbines, where it dropped about 30ft down a chute to rush into the drums, where it pushed the fins around which drove the cogs and textiles machinery.

Mr Beattie said: “I want them to go somewhere somebody will appreciate them – though spare parts might be a problem.”

He bought the 30-acre former fish farm from Marine Harvest for £1 four years ago.