Thursday, 2 March 2017

Sarehole Mill - Birmingham

Where I was born in Warwickshire the River Cole made its way from Birmingham to eventually meet the River Trent. Coleshill took its name from the river. At the bottom of the hill was a millpond, but the mill (valued in the Domesday Book as worth more than the entire town) was long gone. Trace the River Cole back into Birmingham and there was another mill, but this one is still standing, and still working.


The mill is situated in Hall Green, Birmingham, and many more people know it than they realise.


In 1542 the first mill was known as Biddle's Mill. By 1727 it had become High Wheel Mill. In 1755 it passed to the remarkable Matthew Boulton and he changed its use from the production of flour to the grinding of anything, from metal to fertilisers.


It worked away until 1771, but then lay derelict until 1919. One very important person was very much influenced by the mill. He lived just three hundred yards away.


When it was mooted that the mill should be razed, a group of enthusiasts banded together to protect it, but it was not until 1969 that it was fully restored. Nowadays it opens to the public from Easter until October, grinds flour and produces bread on site.


The man who lived 300 yards away was J R R Tolkien and to him this was the Mill at Hobbiton, and if you have seen The Lord of the Rings, you will be familiar with the round doorways and windows of Hobbit homes.





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