East Peak Innovation Partnership (EPIP)
12 St Mary's Street
Penistone, S36 6DT

Call: 01226 763 201

EPIP industrial heritage programme

Tin Mill Survey

 In Spring 2013 the Industrial Heritage Support Programme funded an archaeological desk-based assessment and walk-over survey at the site of the former Wortley Tin Mill on the River Don. The work was carried out with the permission of the Wharncliffe Estates, who own and manage the site and surrounding woodland.


General shots of the Tin Mill site (January 2013)

The project was developed by Hunshelf Parish Council, and the archaeological work was carried out under the supervision of Wessex Archaeology, who worked with local volunteers to map and interpret the visible remains of the former rolling mill complex, which includes the former mill buildings and water management system and a row of workers cottages, all now ruined. The survey expanded on previous work by the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society Field Recording Group (in the 1980s) and by students from the University of Sheffield Archaeology Department (in 2005 and 2011). 

The project concluded that Wortley Tin Mill was probably established in 1743 on the site of an earlier bloomery and slitting mill, and that it produced tin plate until the late 18th century when the mill was adapted for rolling iron bars and plates. It is likely that the tinning process was imported into the area from South Wales by John Cockshutt of Wortley Top Forge. By the end of the 19th century the site had fallen into disuse, and by the time of the 1905 Ordnance Survey map the site was mostly derelict. 


General shots showing the survey in progress, and the former mill pond (now a fishing lake)

The Tin Mill site is a rare example of an early tin plate manufactory, particularly outside of Wales, and is possibly the most northerly 18th century tin mill known in England. Despite its conversion to a rolling mill by the 19th century, the complex does not appear to have been significantly altered from its original layout, and so additional research at the site may reveal important information about historic tin working processes. 

The survey has now been written up. If you would like a digital copy please contact our industrial heritage support officer. Hunshelf Parish council are now planning to develop a wider community-based project to explore the site and its fascinating history in more detail. For more information please contact us and we will pass your query on to the group.

Please note that the site is on private land and there is currently no public access, although it is included on one of the Steel Valley Heritage Walks - available on line here

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