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Monument record MDR3879 - Old Millclose Watt's Engine House and associated features, Cowley Knowl, South Darley

Type and Period (4)

  • (Built 1859, Victorian - 1859 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Pre-1859, Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Old Millclose Engine House is over a Watts engine shaft. The Old Millclose Mine was the most productive in Britain circa 1870. (1) Built 1859-60 by Edward Wass to house a Cornish (beam) engine. This pumped water from Old Millclose lead mine via the Watts engine shaft adjacent to the building. This was an old shaft that was reopened in 1859. The engine operated until the early 1870s when it was moved to New Millclose mine, 450m north east. Photographs of the engine house in the 1870s exist. Scheduled (2) Watts Engine House. This was the largest lead mine in the UK and was used to illustrate the methods used. Descripition in 'Arkwright Society Local History Trail' and Peak Park's 'Lead Mining in the Peak District'. There is a preservation order on the engine house; the other engine houses were demolished around 1965. In October 1981, it was noted that Mill Close Mine was now a SAM and a plan of the extant scheduled area is awaited from the DOE (3). Photographic record. (4). Chimney = SK 259 626 Engine House = SK 258 617 Slag heaps = SK 262 625 (5) Surface features to Old Millclose Mine - Watt's Engine House include the ruins of the Watt's Shaft Cornish pumping engine house, the foundations of a winding house possibly also incorporating a boiler for this to the north, and a larger boiler house between with three short flues to a chimney base. There are also foundations of another building, slope-retaining walls, and the site of a capstan. The shaft gives access to one small section of extensive and important pipe workings [SMR 12750]. Very extensive hillocks have been largely removed/ reworked and thus are not included in the defined area of interest. (7) Site monitoring has been carried out and site appears not to be under threat. (8) Massive gritstone remains of engine house fo Watts Shaft Engine which worked one of the shafts of Millclose Mine formally housing a 50 inch Cornish engine installed at an initial cost of £1610. This is the only significant structural remain in South Darley and Wensley dotted with shafts of former lead mines. (9) Old Millclose mine was owned by the London Lead CO. from 1720 until 1764 when the workings were flooded and remained so until Edward Miller Wass decided to re-open the mine in 1859 believing there was still ore to be found. As the mine grew it brought further flooding problems and in 1874 and it was forced to close for two years. Wass had prepared for this and opened a new shaft, Warren Carr, 300 ft. deep, which had been sunk in readiness. This shaft became the main focus of activity and remained in use until around 1889. By 1918 the mine had suffered from disputes, strikes and lockouts for two years. In February 1919 the mine was put up for sale. Bradford Vale Mining Co. brought Millclose shaft in late 1919, forming Millclose Mines Ltd. Modern drilling methods were introduced along with dynamite, however, by the end of 1929, the mine was not a success and made a lost that year. Further shafts were sunk in 1925 in anticipation for yet more flooding although in 1936 engineers and miners were laid off as the mines flooded past a level of control. The mine was eventually closed in 1940 after salvage operations. The smelter remained in use until 1941 when the plant was sold to H. J. Enthoven & Sons, who still exist today. (10)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). 1975. Panel on Industustrial Monuments. 7.
  • <2> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1998. Scheduling Notification. 30953. Cat. No.: 254.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Hill, R (PPJPB). 1985. Peak Park Treasures. C73.
  • <4> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 12703: 1-5.
  • <5> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Sites nr. Millclose Mine, Darley Dale.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). Derbyshire XXIX.9.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 2004. An Inventory of Regionally & Nationally Important Lead Mining Sites in the Peak District. Vol. 2: Corpus of Sites. p 184-5, site no. B25.
  • <8> Unpublished document: 2008. Scheduled Monument Monitoring Form: Old Millclose Engine House.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales.
  • <10> Article in serial: North East Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology Society (NEDIAS). 2005. North East Derbyshire Industrial Archaeological Society Newsletter, No. 19, August 2005.



Grid reference Centred SK 2578 6182 (72m by 63m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR3243

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Record last edited

Apr 29 2015 3:24PM

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