Rivelin Valley Conservation Group
The Second Coppice mill dam holds water, but is now very silted. The water level was raised in 2002, which killed some of the trees that had become established when it was dry – the dead trees provide good habitat for wildlife, but can give the dam an eerie feel at times.
Second Coppice has no weir – water from the tail goit and overflow of Upper Coppice feed directly into the head goit of Second Coppice, thereby linking the two sites directly.
Second Coppice Wheel was built in the mid-18th century. It was used for grinding knives, scythe blades and saws, as well as wire drawing. It was in use until at least 1905.
Also known as: Darwin Wheel, Middle Coppice Wheel, Rivelin Mill.
Main trades: Knife, scythe and saw grinding, wire-drawing mill, shops.
Built in 1736 by Joshua Spooner, a ‘respected grinder’, the Spooner family held the lease at Second Coppice Wheel until 1783. In 1794 it was being run by Benjamin Barker who employed three men working at three trows, the wheel pit at this time having a fall of 15 ft 4 in (c. 4.7 m).
The Wheel became known locally as the Darwin Wheel after a widow named Darwin became a tenant in 1815, at which time scythes and saws were ground here. By 1852 the site included a grinding hull, a wire-drawing mill, shops and dwellings. In 1870 it was run by Joel Horsfield, who paid £95 per year for the tenancy of Second and Upper Coppice Wheels, but he subsequently abandoned the tenancy of Second Coppice because it was deemed unsafe. Estimates for the repairs came to £88 in 1871 and £125 in 1872.
The work continued until at least 1905, at which time the site was occupied by Greaves brothers & Hawley.