The Lady Isabella

We went to a comedy club on the Isle of Man. The three comedians were first time to the Island and rather bemused by it. Asking if anyone had ever been mugged drew no response whatsoever, They all took the piss out of the Fairy Bridge, generally is the “was that it?” vein. (It is rather unremarkable). One was staying at a hotel that reminded him of Eastbourne as it was full of old people and had excellent medical facilities. He went to the door just as a coach pulled up and the side panels hissed open. He was expecting luggage and found it rather surreal that instead it was full of Davros Buggy motorised wheelchairs..
One of them said he had been taken to see

“that big wheel up at Laxey… thats a f****** scary ride!”

Of course, the big wheel in question isn’t a ride, it is a huge industrial water wheel, built in the age of steam when coal was not readily available on the island, but water was.

We went to see it in 2000 but there is a lot more of the site to visit, although the remnants of buildings are rather arcane. Here is a plan of the site.

A casual glance at the site would suggest that the aquaduct behind the wheel supplies the water to the wheel, but it is actually a viaduct to carry the motive force up the valley to the original mine pumping equipment. Instead, water is fed from a cistern up on the hillside, down through pipes, up the chimney-like construction and onto the wheel from above. There is a handy schematic up near the cistern which explains it. I’ve uploaded a number of photos with explanatory texts and they can be enlarged by clicking on them.

I was surprised how fast the wheel was actually going, in some video footage around it is much more sedate. Here is five seconds of video from our trip.