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An undershot water wheel at the Meal Mill, Millers Dale
Green, H V
About this image
A mill on this site was recorded in the Domesday book in 1086 so something had probably been on the site for 900 years. Mills like this one were usually owned by the landlord and tenant farmers paid part of their produce to the miller and landlord for the grinding service. The system was an unpopular and the owners were usually suspected of taking more than their fair share. The mill was owned by the Devonshire estate and was used to grind animal fodder by several generations of the Dakin family who bought the freehold in the late 18th C. By the early 20th C the mill was run by the two brothers George and Thomas who were both to die in the winter of 1912-1913. By this time however the mill was becoming uncommercial and it closed in the 1920s. In the 1970s the mill was demolished to allow a borehole to be sunk to supply water to the Chapel-en-le-Frith area. As a memento, a reconstruction of the last waterwheel remains. It is a low-breast undershot wheel of cast iron and wood 4m x 1.8m deep, made in Sheffield by Thomas Cavill in 1860. A dam across the river forced water under the wheel and probably generated about 6 hp. It was used to power two pairs of 1.4m gritstone grinding wheels. (Information from Severn Trent Water.) The Water wheel was re-furbished in 2000 by members of the Midland Wind and Water Mills Group.