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Old Mill (1808), New or South Mill (1820/30), North Mill (c.1860)

Event ID 855575

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Architecture Notes


NJ90NW 125.13 93571 06877 (Old Mill), 93595 06857 (South or New Mill) and 93573 06922 (North Mill)

a)The Old Mill (NJ 93571 06877) of 1808, was constructed as a fireproof spinning mill. It is of brick and stone built and over four storeys. It is probably the oldest iron-framed mill in Scotland and the fourth oldest known to survive in the world. The cruciform internal column style rare example of early industrial building design.

This mill is 7 bays long internally and has brick arched ceilings between cast iron beams carried on rows of four cruciform, cast iron, columns. The beams are relatively narrow and have a cambered underside not unlike the hacking (a process in the production of flax) wing at Ditherington Mills (Shrewsbury, Shropshire), 1797/1805 and 1811. It also is similar to Barrack Mill, Whitehaven (1809), Campions Mill, Whitby (1814) and Marshalls Mill, Leeds (1806/1817). The columns in Old Mill Broadford show entasis (convex curve in the shaft of the column) as in all the examples cited. The mill was started c.1808 by Scott, Brown and Co. and advertised for sale in 1811 as having "34 frames, 24 for spinning flax, 9 for tow..." (short flax fibres removed during processing - Dundee eventually specialised in tow spinning) and one for twisting thread, "...a tow carding machine and flax preparing frames". It was driven by a steam engine built in Leeds built by Murray, Fenton and Wood (removed). Unlike Ditherington, Mill, Old Mill had a wooden roof. Watson also suggests how the machines in the Old Mill were operated based on an 1818 drawings. On the ground floor (carding in 1818), the 12 tow cards were run from belts on drums on the central shaft running longitudinally. Watson also says that "Bevel gearing between the central columns appears to have been the only way of of transferring power to the upper floors". (Watson, 236)

b) South Mill (NJ 93595 06857) built around 1820 to 1830 as a second fireproof spinning mill. Rare survival from this period.

c) North Mill (NJ 93573 06922) built c.1860, fireproof spinning mill with a single off-centre row of columns apart from the N end where the columns are three deep.

All three buildings were re-roofed in 1922-23 and the stair and lavatory towers were then added. At around the same date the boiler and stove houses were demolished.

M Watson, 1992

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