Rivelin Valley Conservation Group and Ruskin in Sheffield
The Roscoe Wheel was built in 1725 and was mostly used for grinding fenders and saws. The upper floor of the two-storey building was used as a polishing shop. It was in use until at least 1922 but derelict by 1936. A row of cottages under Roscoe Bank stood adjacent. The nearby Roscoe Bridge was built in the early 19th century and is Grade II listed.
A few remains of the buildings can still be seen, as well as the wheel pit arch and outfall from the pit into the tail goit (culverted underground). The weir is particularly unusual, having a long, dressed stone slope and two top kerbs, the upper one being a double-arc .
Also known as: Holme-Intack Wheel, Hoole’s Wheel, Willow Bank Wheel.
Main trades: Cutlery, fender, file & saw grinding; polishing; blacking mill.
The Roscoe Wheel was ‘newly erected’ in 1725, with William Hoole & Joseph Spooner its earliest tenants. Records of 1794 show 12 trows and 16 men employed. It was engaged for the best part of its working life in the fender and saw grinding trade, for which huge grindstones, up to 7 ft in diameter, were required. In 1835, a valuation listed a blacking mill*, steam engine and boilers. The Wheel was unusual in the valley, having a breast-shot waterwheel and a two-storey building. The upper floor, reached via steps in the bank behind, housed a polishing shop – a process that used wooden wheels with a leather belt, coated in glue and powdered emery, running around them. In 1830, there seems to have been a second, smaller, building between the main building and the bridge, apparently driven by a second waterwheel.
A row of cottages under Roscoe Bank stood beside the Wheel. On the side of one of these cottages were painted the words “HOT WATER FOR TEAS” – this was supplied by the tenants to the many weekend picnickers escaping into the valley from the city, and no doubt provided a good source of extra income for them.
Roscoe Wheel was used until at least 1922 and recorded as derelict in 1936.
* a blacking mill ground charcoal into a fine powder used for the dusting of moulds in foundries and in the manufacture of lamp black and shoe polish.