Rivelin Valley Conservation Group and Ruskin In Sheffield LogoWalkley Bank Tilt

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group

Introduction

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.

Image of the beech trees along the dam wall of Walkley Bank Tilt

The beech trees along the dam wall of Walkley Bank Tilt (Havelock Dam) provide rich autumnal colours. Photo: P. Machin, 2009.

Image of the stepping stones across the river just below Havelock Dam

The stepping stones across the river just below Havelock Dam provide an alternative route to/from the Holly Bush and Rivelin Park café. Photo: Sue Shaw, March 2015.

HISTORY (C. 1750S–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.

Image of the Interior of Walkley Bank Tilt

Interior of Walkley Bank Tilt, showing the tilt hammers. Watercolour by Godfrey Sykes (1824–1866). Courtesy of Museums Sheffield.

Image of Walkley Bank Tilt and mill dam

Walkley Bank Tilt and mill dam (Havelock Dam), taken from Walkley Bank in the early 20th century. The buildings immediately behind are on Stannington Road, with The Anvil pub far left. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image t06402

Image of the Mill building and dwelling at Walkley Bank Tilt

Mill building and dwelling at Walkley Bank Tilt (probably early 20th century). Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image s10492.


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