Rivelin Valley Conservation Group and Ruskin In Sheffield LogoWolf Wheel

Rivelin Valley Conservation Group

Introduction

The Wolf Wheel mill dam is the largest in the valley still with open water and is maintained for recreational use. Overhanging oak trees on the far bank provide wonderful autumn colours.

Wolf Wheel was built in the early 1720s. The grinding room was probably the largest in the valley, and was used for grinding cutlery and razors. It was last recorded being used in 1930. The wheel pit is partly infilled and overgrown but some remains of the buildings can still be seen.

The footbridge across the river just downstream from Wolf Wheel marks an old cross-valley route from Dore to Bradfield. To the north the footpath climbs up a steep cobbled path to Rivelin Valley Road and to the south up the valleyside through fields to Manchester Road (A57).

Image of Overhanging trees along the northern edge of Wolf mill dam.  Photo: Sue Shaw, May 2015.

Overhanging trees along the northern edge of Wolf mill dam. Photo: Sue Shaw, May 2015.

Image of A steep cobbled path runs from near Wolf Wheel up the cliff to Rivelin Valley Road.  Photo: Sue Shaw, May 2015.

A steep cobbled path runs from near Wolf Wheel up the cliff to Rivelin Valley Road. Photo: Sue Shaw, May 2015.

HISTORY (C. 1720S–1930S)

Also known as: Rocher Wheel, Rocker Wheel.

Main trades: Cutlery and razor grinding.

Wolf Wheel was built in the early 1720s. In 1794, there were 11 trows with 16 men employed. By 1830 an iron overshot waterwheel (15 ft x 6 ft 8 in; c. 4.6 x 2 m) ran 17 table-knife trows and two razor trows, making it probably the largest grinding room in the valley.

James & Samuel Windle rented the mill from 1810–1852. In 1838 the Windles were in such disagreement over their business affairs that arbitrators were called in. Samuel subsequently sold his half of the mill to Joseph, who in 1852 sold the Wheel to the Sheffield Waterworks Company.

Wolf Wheel was last recorded as being used in 1930, but the pentrough and shuttles were reported in good working order in 1934.

The stone bridge that crosses the overflow was built in 1967 and in 2005 Sheffield City Council reinforced the dam wall alongside the river, to help prevent erosion and potential collapse.

Image of Wolf Wheel mill dam, with buildings at the far end and River Rivelin below (to the right)

Wolf Wheel mill dam, with buildings at the far end and River Rivelin below (to the right) (c. 1900). From the KK collection.

Image of the grinding room at Wolf Wheel

The grinding room at Wolf Wheel, probably the largest in the valley (undated). The footbridge marks the cross-valley route from Dore to Bradfield, which climbs the steep bank behind the building. Note also the cultivated land on the slopes nearby. From the KK collection.

Image of grinders outside Wolf Wheel

Grinders outside Wolf Wheel* (dated 1851–1899). Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image t04333.

* Labelled by Picture Sheffield as “Unidentified grinding works possibly at Wolf Wheel, Rivelin” but comparison with the image of the grinding room above would suggest that they are the same building.

Image of skating on Wolf mill dam.

Skating on Wolf mill dam. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image t02410. (Image undated).

Image of waterwheel at Wolf Wheel in 1931.

Waterwheel at Wolf Wheel in 1931. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image s10372.

Image of Wolf Wheel and mill dam in the 1920s.

Wolf Wheel and mill dam in the 1920s. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image y00386

Image of Wolf Wheel mill daml

Wolf Wheel mill dam. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image y00386. (Image undated)

Image of inlet from the river to Swallow Wheel head goit, with Wolf Wheel building behind

Inlet from the river to Swallow Wheel head goit, with Wolf Wheel building behind. Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: www.picturesheffield.co.uk Image s10373. (Image undated)

Image of dredging of Wolf mill dam in about 1967.

Dredging of Wolf mill dam in about 1967. The bridge over the overflow was replaced in 1967. From the KK collection.


Other Mills
RVCG website