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Laxey Wheel
Laxey, Isle of Man, UK
associated engineer
Robert Casement
date  September 1854
era  Victorian  |  category  Waterwheel  |  reference  SC432852
ICE reference number  HEW 397
The Lady Isabella waterwheel was built to drain the Great Laxey Lead Mine. It is the largest waterwheel in the British Isles, and the largest in the world still working.
The overshot wheel is made from wood and iron. It is 22m in diameter, 1.8m wide and has a circumference of 69m. The whole structure weighs around 100 tonnes.
Water to drive the wheel flows along iron pipes from a cistern further up the valley. It is lifted to the top by siphon, where it flows along a trough and drops into the 192 wooden buckets on the wheel, each holding 91 litres, causing it to turn. The wheel turns at two and a half revolutions per minute and produces a driving power of up to 149kW. The siphon is housed in a masonry tower with a spiral access staircase around the outside.
Laxey Wheel powered pumps that dewatered the mine by driving a series of 183m long pump rods, supported by a row of 35 masonry arches. The pumps could raise 1,137 litres of water per minute from 450m below ground.
When the mine closed in 1929, local builder Edwin Kneale acquired the waterwheel as a tourist attraction. The Manx government bought it in 1965 and initiated full restoration. It has been looked after by Manx National Heritage since 1989.
Waterwheel axle: Mersey Iron Works
Cast iron wheel rims: Gelling's Foundry
Research: ECPK
bibliography
www.iomguide.com
www.isleofman.com
www.laxeywheel.co.uk
reference sources   CEH North
Location

Laxey Wheel