Frank Wheel. Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, S6 5SG

Frank Wheel, Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, S6 5SG

Former water-powered grinding Wheel and water management system

Frank Wheel and associated water management system are the remains of a water-powered mill site that dates back to at least 1737. It was originally used for grinding cutlery but converted to a paper mill by 1854. From 1905 the site stood empty and most of the building was levelled. Part of the west end of the wheel building and part of a substantial wall that formed support for the pentrough can still be seen.

The water management system extends to the north-east and south-west of the site of the former mill buildings. There is usually a good cascade of water at the weir, which is located about 100 m upstream of the mill dam. A long, wide head goit channels water into the mill dam, which still holds water but is heavily shaded by trees. The tail goit is culverted beneath the track to the east, and runs directly into the head goit of the Wolf Wheel mill dam (next downstream).

The site of the Frank Wheel is located on the south side of Rivelin Valley Road between its junction with the western end of Tofts Lane and the entrance to King Edward’s apartments. The site is owned by Sheffield City Council and there is open access. A public footpath (the Rivelin nature and heritage trail) passes the site between the mill dam and the river. The trail can be accessed from various points along Rivelin Valley Road, and surrounding footpaths.

A marker post installed at the site by Rivelin Valley Conservation Group gives a brief history and links to a website where further information and pictures can be found.

Frank Wheel is one of the 20 water-powered mills built in the Rivelin Valley (search for ‘Rivelin Waterpower Sites’ on this website for more details). This sequence of Rivelin mills and mill dams forms an essential part of Sheffield’s heritage. They also have a broader national and even international significance in relation to the history of the Industrial Revolution in Sheffield.

Further information and pictures of Frank Wheel and other sites in the Rivelin valley can be found at See also the books ‘Walking the Rivelin’, by Sue Shaw and Keith Kendall (6th edition, 2019, Rivelin Valley Conservation Group) and ‘Water Power on the Sheffield Rivers’, by C. Ball, D. Crossley, N. Flavell (Editors), (2nd Edition (2006), South Yorkshire Industrial Society).