The worlds biggest working waterwheel in the upper valley at Laxey is 72’6″ (22.1 m) diameter, 6’0″ (1.83 m) wide and called “Lady Isabella”. It was built in 1854 to pump water from the nearby lead, copper, silver and zinc mines. The wheel still operates (revolves at approximately three revolutions per minute) but no longer pumps water. You need to see this feat of Victorian engineering to appreciate the skill an dedication to engineering at the time.
The wheel is maintained by Manx National Heritage and is vistor-friendly with explanatory signs and well maintained paths and fences. The view from the top, looking down the Laxey valley is superb and its well worth climbing all those spiral stairs. It’s also worth following the river downstream and crossing the main road into the former washing floors to see the “mini wheel” – a replica of its big sister.
A superb attraction that is quite unique in the world.