Hollins Bridge Mill, Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, S6 5GL

Hollins Bridge Mill, Rivelin Valley, Sheffield, S6 5GL

Former water-powered mill and water management system

Hollins Bridge Mill and associated water management system are the remains of a water-powered site dating from about 1724 (perhaps before). It was first used for grinding cutlery, then later also fenders and is the only site in Rivelin that was used for grinding of optical glass. By 1868 it had been converted to a corn mill, and by 1936 was noted as being ‘little used’. Only traces of the buildings survive, but the weir and remains of the tail goit can still be seen.

The water management system extends to the north-east and south-west of the site of the former mill buildings. Other than at the Yorkshire Water treatment site upstream, this is the only place in the valley where the course of the river has been changed – the river originally ran through what is now the Rivelin Water Play area, being separated from the mill dam by a narrow embankment. In the early 20th century, around the time the ‘New Road’ (Rivelin Valley Road) was built along the valley, the river was diverted to flow directly through the former mill dam. Nothing remains of the original weir – the height of water needed to power the water wheel was preserved by a new weir, which is one of the longest weirs in the valley. There were further changes in this area when the paddling pools were built in 1951. The remains of the tail goit can still be seen under Hollins Bridge, joining the river on the downstream side of the bridge via a channel separated from the river by a series of stone slabs, one of only three sites in the valley that had this arrangement.

Hollins Bridge Mill site is located near the junction of Hollins Lane and Rivelin Valley Road. The site is owned by Sheffield City Council and there is open access – a public footpath (the Rivelin Nature Trail), passes the site. The Trail can be accessed from various points along Rivelin Valley Road, or from the north (Stannington) side of the valley (Hollins Lane).

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.

Hollins Bridge Mill 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 Walkley Bank Tilt and other sites in the Rivelin valley can be found at https://rivelinvalley.org.uk/rivelin-trails-2/. 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).