Sheaf Mill 19 – Little London Wheel

River Sheaf

Location of Little London Wheel

The location of Little London Wheel.
Mill Co-ordinates: 53.35774°,-1.47905°

Click Here to open a Google© map in a new window.

Little London Works and Heeley Mill on a 1903 OS Map

Part of a 1903 OS map showing Little London Works and Heeley Mill

Francis Gregg was leasing the Little London Wheel to the Offertons for use as a cutlery wheel in 1720. Gregg sold the works to John Hatfield in 1724 when there were two wheels, one for scythe grinding and the other a cutler’s wheel.

Samuel Shore bought the property in 1777. Thomas Biggin was the tenant in 1783 and he paid for the expansion of the dam. A new tilt had been installed by 1789.

From 1814-1815 it was being used as a grinding and plating forge. In 1828 William Webster was making scythes and hay and straw machines.

Tyzack and Turners bought the site in 1876. The property was expanded and by 1901 there was a grinding wheel, troughs, tilt forge, houses, workshops, offices and a 60hp steam engine. The water wheels had been modernised by 1912, they were now made of cast iron and the tilt shop had two hammers. In 1935 the company transferred its scythe making operations from Abbeydale Works to this site.

After 1972 the dam was filled in and was partly built on by Laycock’s works. The site was used for metal working until 1987. In 1991 the site was demolished and cleared for development. The forge was dismantled and the equipment transported to Beamish Museum, County Durham

The dam overflow, in the river wall, can still be seen near the footbridge in Broadfield Road. The lower weir remains and is visible from the north end of Coniston Road. The line of the Little London / Heeley Mill tail race can be seen as a change in the river walling near Clyde Road.