A message to United Utilities

By | Category: Travel rumblings
part of Victoria and Alexandra

part of Victoria and Alexandra

Near Rochdale is the Ellenroad Engine House. Most of you won’t have heard of it. It’s a steam museum which houses working engines from the Industrial Revolution.

The engine house, in Newhey, was built in the 1880s by the Ellenroad Spinning Company and contains the world’s largest working steam mill engines – named Victoria and Alexandra. They are important not just because they are the largest but because they are the sole working survivors of the twin horizontal tandem compound steam engines which powered Lancashire’s mills throughout the latter part of the Industrial Revolution. The importance is not just to Lancashire but to our heritage for mills like this kept the empire clothed.

But soon, you may no longer be able to visit it has said it may have to close because of the power and water costs. The trust running the engine house says that the £7,000 annual water bill is more than it can pay as it makes just £5,000 a year from visitors. At a fiver for entry, the engine house is attracting about 1,000 adult visitors a year. But to achieve that it is open just one day a month and is reliant on volunteers..

The company supplying the water, United Utilities, says that it will work with the charitable trust to cut costs. That will be hard to do given that mills and engines consume vast amounts of water and power to operate the engines.

A suggestion to United Utilities.

For £7,000 per annum you could be the major sponsor of this mill. You set utility prices anyway so it won’t actually cost you that sum. As a charitable donation, there are tax benefits. As a community project it will gain positive publicity. If you seconded a marketing person from your company to assist a day or so a fortnight to develop a business plan in conjunction with the trust, the engine room should be able to attract three times the number of visitors given the number of people who live in the north west. And when you send out bills either by e-mail or post it would cost next to nothing to give your customers a £1 discount off the entry which would encourage even more visitors.

By the way, United Utilities, this is your heritage too.

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