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Monument record MDR5262 - Damstead Spindle Works (site of), Mill Lane, Dronfield

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1800 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

By the early 17th century there were a possible six mill sites in Dronfield and Unstone. One of these, the Middle Mill, is referred to as Damstead in 1633 and was worked by the family of yeoman farmer and maltster William Young. George Ward erected his Damstead Works on the site of the Middle Mill, in order to manufacture spindles and flyers for woollen and cotton spinning mills both in this country and in France. The works were present by 1833, although the precise date of their construction is not known. There seems to have been a dam still there in c. 1844, and features on the river bank suggest that Ward used the water power in his works. A railway plan of 1846 does not show a dam but depicts the layout of the works clearly. The schedule lists grinding wheels and troughs occupied by several men, a spindle manufactory, smiths' shops, en engine house, machinery, boiler, sheds, a counting house, casting shops and turning or bobbin shops. The former mill dam is divided into gardens, the outline of which can still be seen today. (1) Damstead Works appears in Pigot's Directory for Derbyshire of 1835 as 'Ward, Camm and Siddall … Spindle and Fly Makers'. The remains on site in 2003 included the footprint of the former works, the stone base of a steam engine and a collapsed chimney at the western extent of the site, and further buildings, floor levels and surfaces to the south. The spindle and fly works are believed to have closed in the 1890s due to the subsidence of the building. Other firms are known to have used the Works until the middle of the 20th century. In 2003 the site was subject to the clearance of spoil and rubble, and those features that were revealed were recorded. (2) Additional work carried out in 2003, as part of clearing and making the site safe for public use as an amenity area, included a detailed metrical survey of the standing remains, enhanced by large-scale drawings of features of archaeological importance or interest. (3) Damstead Works belonged to George Ward and Co, manufacturers of spindles and flyers for textile machinery. The concrete housing for the steam driven beam engine is still in place as is the low outline of the workshops. Beyond, the outline of the cylinder of the Dronfield Gas Company is marked out by a stone enclosure. At the far end of the lane is the site of the corn mill, with the overflow still cascading into the River Drone. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Battye, K. 1989. Unpublished notes re Mill Lane, Dronfield - Damstead Works site.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Evans, H (ARCUS). 2003. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Damstead Works, Mill Lane, Dronfield. HER Doc. No. 790.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Smith, P (NEDIAS). 2004. The Damstead Report: Survey of the Remains of Damstead Works, Dronfield.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Old Dronfield Society. 2009. Explore Dronfield, Drone Valley Heritage Trail No. 2.



Grid reference Centred SK 3587 7810 (78m by 51m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR2862
  • EDR3762
  • EDR2861

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Sep 25 2017 4:38PM

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