Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Greens Mill

About the Mill

Greens Mill was once a noisy, smelly, busy, centre of industry.

In the late-1600's lead was smelted here and from 1760-1850’s paper was produced to wrap the products of the Sheffield iron and steel industries (often cutlery) and, probably, the pins, needles and wire made in Hathersage.

All that remains today are the pond which provided power by supplying a water wheel, some ruinous buildings and the trackways which transported raw materials, products and people to and from the mills.

The Pond

The pond you can see provided power for a lead smelting mill and was probably built in the late-1600s and extended in the late-1700s. Water from Hood Brook was diverted in channels called ‘leats’, to keep it filled.

The pond was retained by the dam, also built around the late-1600s, where a wheel-pit, which drove a water-wheel to provide power, is still visible.

Two now-ruined buildings are also visible, possibly dating from the 1720-1730s, but much adapted over time. How they were used when lead was being smelted or the paper made remains uncertain.

The Trackways

Trackways brought raw materials and people to the Mill and took away the smelted lead or paper.

In the 1600-1700s, packhorses would likely have been used to do this, the lead being brought from the White Peak, probably Castleton.

Fuel to smelt the lead was produced locally in the woods you can see around the site, which would have been intensively managed to produce the wood required.

By the 1800s, carts would probably have been used as there were now turnpike roads in the area, and large amounts of goods were being transported - some seven tons of paper each week to Sheffield.

History of the Mill

All around you are fields where sheep and cattle graze, so why is there an industrial site amongst the countryside?

Agriculture has always been a precarious living and farmers have often supplemented their incomes with other trades; in the Peak District, generally mining and quarrying.

Streams, such as Hood Brook, were important sources of water-power, so this site was ideal for exploitation. William Savile, of North Lees, probably built the pond, dam and lead smelter in the late 1690s. A tenant of the Saviles, Richard Bagshawe, rebuilt the Mill around 1720-1734.

By the 1760-1790s, Joseph Ibbotson, who farmed at Greens House, rebuilt the mill as a paper mill, his son, Dennis, running it from 1793. By 1850s, industrial decline had started in the UK through competition from emerging industrial nations, such as the US, Sweden and Germany, and such small remote sites started to fail. This is probably when Greens Mill was abandoned.

What does it tell us?

This is now a quiet, seemingly natural spot, much valued locally as a picnic site, surrounded by woodland and countryside. However, for over 150 years, it was a busy industrial centre, the impact of which you can still see all around you.

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