|Oak Bank Mill pond, on the Harrop brook
For the mill owner dependent on the flow
of water to power his mill, the mill pond was an important feature for the storage and regulation of the flow of his water. A mill would not operate satisfactorily on a small river like the Dean because of the variability of the volume of water in the river. If you observe our river you will notice that the level increases sharply after a heavy shower of rain and then declines once the runoff has been carried away. The basic flow of water changes with the seasons, more in the winter, less in the summer, very little in a dry summer.
The mill required a constant flow of a minimum quantity during working hours and then nothing for the rest of the time. The only way to ensure this was to store water in a mill pond when the mill was closed and release this water to the water wheel during working hours. The mill highest up the river was limited to the amount of water stored in its own mill pond. Those further downstream benefited by having their mill ponds topped up during the working day by the water coming down from the mills above! The down side to this advantage was that after the end of the working day there would be less water in the river to fill your pond until the ponds above you were filled and overflowing.
There are still several ponds to be seen along the river Dean
through Rainow and Bollington, though all are not obvious and don't
necessarily contain water! The highest two are up near Rainow village
- a small pond, now dry, adjacent to Cow
Lane mill, and a bigger
mill pond adjacent to where Hough-hole
mill (the White Shop) used
to be. This is now in water.
Above the waterfall at the top end
Vale is Ingersley Clough
pool which provided water for Ingersley
Vale or Clough mill. This
is visible from the public footpaths either side of it. It is
very badly silted up and is no longer of any value for water
storage. The site is now privately owned and being managed as
a wildlife reserve. Next, downstream, is the site of the mill
pond for Rainow
is part of the rough piece of ground between Rainow mill (the
green corrugated building) and Ingersley Clough mill. The pond
seems to have been filled with demolition rubble many decades
ago. At the town end of Ingersley
still have Higher
mills pond, in water. What we have
today is only about two thirds of the original pond. Part was
used to build Dyers Close.
There was then a pond for Lower
was situated to the left of the river as you look at the mill
from Lord Street, where the
staff car park is today. It extended behind the houses in Park
Street, to the back of what was the Queen's
Arms pub. Only a small part of this pond remains today.
|Defiance mill and the
Bobbin mill, Queen Street
On the Harrop brook (between Shrigley
Road and Ingersley Road)
there remains Oak Bank mill pond (pictured above). This is in quite
good condition, having been dredged some years ago. It is also
now in private ownership. The next one may surprise you - Pool
Bank car park was once a mill pond! This supplied Defiance
mill and the Bobbin mill that stood next to it on what is today
called Queen Street (left).
So far as I know the corn mill at
West Bollington did not have
a pond; it used a very long leat that came off the river behind
the Bridgend Centre and is visible today only in the Recreation
Ground - the small foot bridge by the tunnel was an aqueduct for
the leat and the watercourse followed where the path is today.
It then went out into the street and all along the side of Wellington
Road, mostly in an underground conduit, to the mill just beyond
Waterhouse mill had a very large
waterwheel and this was fed from a pond which was in the higher
part of the site to the right of the entrance road. This was fed
from the river Dean - you can still see the start of the leat in
Ground immediately above the weir. Originally it
may well have extended across where the Middlewood
is today. However, this would have been filled in by the late 1860s
when the viaduct was constructed. See the Waterhouse
mill page for
a picture taken before construction of the viaduct, and for pictures
of the wheel pit taken during its demolition.
The last big pond, heading downstream, is that above Lowerhouse
mill. This is filled from the river Dean at the back of Calder
Close and fed the waterwheel that originally powered the mill
from 1819. This pond remains in water.
Clarence mill has a pond in the fields above the mill but this
was to provide water for steam engines, not water wheels. In a
similar way, Adelphi mill used water from the canal to fill its
There is a medium sized pond in Ingersley park, which remains
in water but out of public sight. I have no evidence that this
was used by any mill. It's on a very small watercourse, the Lima
brook, running into the Harrop brook just above Oak Bank pond,
so continuity of supply would have been a problem, and there were
no mills in that area. It's probable that this was an ornamental
lake with no industrial purpose.
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that is presented in these pages. Please
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