Rivelin Valley Conservation Group and Ruskin In Sheffield LogoNew Dam

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group

Introduction

New Dam was the last mill dam to be built in the Rivelin Valley. It was built in the 1850s solely to provide supplementary water to Spooners Wheel (next downstream) and so had no water wheel or associated workshops.

In 1909 New Dam was turned into an open air swimming pool. This closed in the late 1930s. The pool was drained and has become colonised by trees, but a small stream still flows through.

The Rivelin Chair Sculpture sits on an island on what remains of the New Dam weir.

Image of New Dam in late spring.

New Dam in late spring. Photo: Sue Shaw, May 2016.

Image of the Rivelin chair sculpture.

The Rivelin chair sculpture with the weir and head goit entry to New Dam behind (to the right). Photo: Sue Shaw, Sept. 2013.

HISTORY (C. 1853–1930s)

Main trades: Extra water supply for Spooners Wheel, swimming pool.

As its name implies, the New Dam was the last mill dam in Rivelin to be constructed (possibly the last in Sheffield). It is the only one in the valley without an adjacent waterwheel. It was built in the early 1850s to provide a supplementary water supply for Spooners Wheel due to a demand for more water. The existing Spooners head goit was widened and water fed into the Spooners mill dam by means of an underground tunnel through the high bank between the two dams.

The mill dam was fed via a weir and very short head goit at the western end.

Image of New Dam with Roscoe Wheel and cottages behind.

The New Dam weir (clearly overgrown) with Roscoe Wheel and cottages behind (undated). The shuttle mechanism on the inlet to the head goit, with roller and capstan, is mounted on the stones beside the girl. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image s10376.

In 1909 Sheffield Corporation turned the New Dam into an open air swimming pool– this was for men and boys only, although this rule was apparently widely ignored! However, being set so low down in the valley the water was always cold and only the most hardy could stand it for more than a couple of minutes. The pool had a swimming attendant and a woollen costume could be rented from him for a penny. The pool also had quite a lot of fish in it – if you caught one of these fish and placed it in a bucket at the side of the office you would receive your penny back. The pool closed in the late 1930s when the long wooden shed that was used as changing facilities was destroyed by fire.

Image of the New Dam bathing pool under construction.

New Dam bathing pool under construction (c. 1910). Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image v00943.

Image of wooden construction (presumably the changing sheds) at the New Dam bathing pool.

Part of the wooden construction (presumably the changing sheds) at the New Dam bathing pool (c. 1910). Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image u00916.

Image of New Dam bathing pool.

New Dam bathing pool (with Roscoe allotments behind), in the early 20th century. From the KK collection.

Image of bathers at the New Dam swimming pool

Bathers at the New Dam swimming pool in the early 20th century. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image s03964. in the early 20th century. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image s03964.


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