Rivelin Valley Conservation Group
The Rivelin trail passes along the dam wall of the Walkley Bank Tilt mill dam (Havelock Dam). The open water is maintained for recreational use and it is a popular fishing spot.
The site was used for cutlery grinding from around 1751. In 1762 it was converted to a tilt-forge and in 1897 to a wire-drawing mill. Water power was replaced by oil and then electricity. It was the last working site in the valley, closing in the 1950s.
Also known as: Hallam Wheel, Havelock Steel & Wire Mills, Walkley Tilt. Known locally as Havelock Dam
Main trades: Cutlery grinding, tilt forge, wire-drawing mill.
The Church Burgesses of Sheffield owned the land on which Walkley Bank Tilt stood. Its history as a cutlers’ Wheel can be traced back as far as 1751 (when it was noted as ‘newly built’), but in 1762 Jonathan Parker & William Hawksworth purchased the lease and converted it to a tilt-forge.
A tilt hammer is pivoted like a see-saw – a cam mechanism pushes the tail end down, thereby raising the hammer end, then releases so that the hammer falls by gravity. A rapid stroke rate could be achieved, making tilt hammers suitable for drawing iron down to small sizes suitable for the Sheffield cutlery trades.
A valuation of the forge in 1812 included a sketch showing the overshot waterwheel. In 1831 a 42-year lease was taken up by Joseph Oakes & Joseph Hawksworth, but by 1865 the Sheffield Waterworks Company had bought the property and Moss & Gamble (a well-known Sheffield name) were the tenants.
Around 1897, the tilt-forge was converted to a wire-drawing mill, operated by George Hallam & Co, who later installed an oil engine (although records show that the waterwheel was still capable of use in 1916). Electric power came to the Walkley Bank Tilt in the 1920s and the mill was the last in the valley to close, in the early 1950s.