Sunday, 5 July 2015

The wonderful Christopher Wallis

I first met Chrisopher ....well definitely in 2005 but may have been 2004. He was restoring the Waterill at Stanway. At the time he was fashioning the buckets that fitted onto the massive 24ft overshot water wheel. He was taking a break and asked to see what I was doing. I showed him my portfolio and said that I was lucky to have a workshop there , and he answered...'No...they are lucky to have you here '....well of course, I was charmed at once.

The following is a little video of the wheel.
https://www.facebook.com/thedecorativepainter/videos/vb.100002669530052/802852849813692/?type=2&theater&notif_t=video_processed

 His father was Barnes Neville Wallis...famous for The Dam busters Bouncing bomb. Christopher said that his father wasn't happy about being constantly reminded and for being known for the bomb because he was a very peaceful man. He should be remembered for inventing the geodetic airframe, for being a clever engineer,  developing better leg callipers and for giving help and money to charities.
A lot of very clever people were obliged to help their country designing such things when a lot of them might not really have wanted to.....no one really wants a war.

Christopher worked on at least 20  mills including Lacey Green Windmill in Buckinghamshire and Stanway Watermill...(I keep calling it a flour mill because that's what they make...and very good it is too! ) in Gloucestershire. When governments and people would say it's going to cost too much money to save a building he would survey the buildings himself and tell ways of getting the work done more affordably. This helped save the Ribblehead Viaduct and the Barmouth Viaduct.
I've only just read that he was against barns being turned into domestic properties...I'm in agreement with him. Its virtually impossible to get a simple workshop at a reasonable rate...a barn would be perfect. There are lots of traditional workers out there that need space to carry on their craft.

The following is a sound and photo video of Stanway Flour Mill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAb-a468OVg

He wasn't into chasing money, his family, health, happiness and work were more important.. ...I only wish that I could have talked to him for longer, and although I didn't know him well, I was sorry to hear of his passing.
Everyone that visits Stanway Watermill will see a lovely photo of him in a simple frame on the window shelf....I think he would have liked that.

If you would like to read more, the people at
Lacey Green Windmill,wrote an obituary about him -which you may like to read here.

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