www.midlandmills.org.uk Home Who/Where? What? Picture Gallery Restoration Publications Membership Meetings Links Mills Open Contact


Nine Centuries of Waterpower in South Cheshire and North Staffordshire

by Tony Bonson

Published by the Midland Wind and Water Mills Group, 2003

A4 softback, 300 pages, 300 illustrations, including photographs, maps and drawings.

ISBN 0 9517794 4 3

This book is the result of over twenty years of research into watermills on the River Dane and its tributaries. Although the area in question is now mainly rural with a smattering of small towns and villages, in the past it was one of the cradles of the industrial revolution with the power provided by the local rivers and streams being applied to over 20 different applications. The history of more than 80 waterpowered sites are described together with details of their buildings and machinery where known. Information is also included on the people and personalities involved in the building and operation of these waterpowered industries.

The area covered by this book starts in the Pennine hills above Macclesfield and Leek and follows the River Dane through Gradbach, Crag, Danebridge and Bosley. Included on one of the Dane’s tributaries are a variety of mills around Biddulph and Buglawton. After the important mills in Congleton are described the rivers are followed via the mills at villages such as, Somerford, Swettenham, Brereton, and Cranage to Middlewich where the Dane is joined by the River Wheelock. As the main tributary of the Dane all the mills on the River Wheelock, from Kidsgrove and Mow Cop through Church Lawton, Odd Rode, Smallwood, Roughwood, Sandbach, Wheelock, Winterley, and Warmingham are included. Finally the combined waters of the Dane and Wheelock join the River Weaver in Northwich.

Apart from the ubiquitous corn mills, waterpower was used by the metal trades to drive iron furnaces and forges as well as brass rolling and slitting mills. The textile industry was a major user of waterpower for fulling, silk throwing, cotton spinning, flax spinning and fustian cutting. Other industries in the area using waterpower were flint, bone & coal grinding, paper making, saw milling, tanning, brine pumping and electricity generation. There were also some very specialised applications such as carpet printing, veneer cutting, ice making and even a set of waterpowered church bells!

This survey integrates archaeological and historical evidence to provide new information on one of the earliest areas to become involved with the industrial revolution and its use of waterpower. Also details of the various processes that used waterpower in the River Dane catchment area are described and all the various disparate developments are placed in their chronological setting. It is hoped that this book will emphasise the contribution waterpower made in South Cheshire and North Staffordshire and highlight its historical importance.

Price £20.00 + £4.50 p & p (or 40.00 euro inc.postage).


Previously obtainable from:

Midland Mills Group, 14 Falmouth Road, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 3BH. or contact: midlandmills@supanet.com

Cheques payable to 'Midland Mills Group'. All profits go to Midland Mills Restoration Fund.

home   top   more MMG books