Porter Mill 03 – Old Forge

Porter Brook

Location of Old Forge

The location of the site of Old Forge
Mill Co-ordinates: 53.36034°,-1.54620°

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This site also referred to as Whiteley Wood Forge and Bottoms Forge and Tilt.

tIn 1752 Thomas Boulsover bought Whiteley Wood Hall and one hundred acres of land from the Strelley Pegges of Beauchief. He built a mill on the northern side of the Porter to produce writing paper but due to the presence of excess ochre in the water this site was converted into a forge. The forge and his neighbouring works lower down the Porter (Whiteley Wood Rolling Mill later called Wire Mill) were used for the manufacture of saws.

In 1765 Boulsover passed ownership of both enterprises to his son-in-law Joseph Mitchell. Boulsover had died by 1783 and the site was still being operated by Mitchell and four other saw and edge tool makers. Five workers cottages were present on the site at this time.

By 1794 Thompson and Co. were running the works. Thompson had been Boulsover’s manager. Mitchell and his partners were still the site owners in 1797. William Hutton, Boulsover’s other son-in-law was also part owner of the works.

By 1815 Mitchell and Hutton, Boulsover’s grandsons were overseeing the works with Samuel Thompson remaining as the manager.

Mitchell was made bankrupt by 1835 and Miss Silcock (Boulsover’s great grand-daughter) took over the running of the Whiteley Wood estate. Henry Unwin and Co. was given a lease to run two iron wheels together with a steam engine. The name of the site changed to ‘Bottoms Forge and Tilt’.

After the death of Miss Silcock her executors retained ownership for another fifteen years and then John Hutton (Miss Silcock’s cousin) became the legal owner. He sold the site in 1873 to John Denton. Denton operated the forge until 1887 when he sold it back to Hutton.

Sometime before 1900 the dam became a boating pool bought by the showman Herbert Maxfield but  by 1920 the site had returned to the Denton family.

In 1937 the Graves Trust had acquired the site and handed over the remains of the forge and the cottages to Sheffield Corporation.

What is visible now?

The dam and weir are intact but as the dam is built across the river, it is subject to silting up despite silt traps which have been constructed immediately upstream. This silt has produced a ‘growing’ island in the middle of the pond.

The wheel pit is visible at the north east corner, behind the café which occupies the site of the tilt forge. There is a range of cottages and storage buildings to the east of the forge site. The lower part of the site is now a garden and playground.

The Porter Brook flows over the dam

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The Porter Brook flows over the dam
Photo co-ordinates: 53.360329°,-1.545773°

The Porter flows directly into Forge Dam

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Forge Dam with its silt island
Photo co-ordinates: 53.36055°,-1.547393

The silt traps in the stream bed

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The silt traps in the stream bed
Photo co-ordinates: 53.359609°,-1.548128°

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The remains of the water wheel pit at Forge Dam
Photo co-ordinates 53.360579°,-1.546417°