The Mills of Sutton Coldfield

Many mills have been recorded as existing in the Sutton Coldfield area, the earliest being a corn (wheat) mill belonging to the lord of the manor in 1126. Most of these early mills were water powered, Maney and Langley being the only two windmills in the area. The remains of a horse mill have also been discovered in the northern part of Sutton Coldfield.

Several of these water mills were built in Sutton Park, using the many small streams for power. To maintain a water supply to these mills, millponds were created and these still survive as the pools of Sutton Park. Besides corn milling, many other industries also relied on the local water power, including spade forging, steel rolling, boring gun barrels, leather dressing, cloth fulling, button polishing and wood sawing. Some of the mills changed their trade during their lifetime, two mills each having three trades before becoming derelict. Even the area that is now occupied by the Sutton Coldfield Gracechurch Centre was once a millpond. This provided water for Town Mill, a corn (wheat) mill, with the Parade, previously called The Dam, later built along the line of the millpond dam.

New Hall Mill, originally milling wheat to provide flour for the local area, underwent various rebuilding changes throughout the years. Later, when larger roller mills could provide better quality flour at a lower price, the miller abandoned flour production and concentrated on part-time production of grist or animal feed. For this, he used a very noisy hammer mill powered by the diesel engine, the waterwheel being ignored as an unreliable power source.

New Hall Mill, downstream of Sutton Park and Sutton Coldfield, originally abstracted water from the Ebrook. A map of The Mills of Sutton Coldfield, based on extensive research by Ken Williams into the lost mills of the area, shows how the water could have been used many times by mills upstream before it was abstracted at New Hall Mill. Additional information on these mills may be obtained on Open Days.

Sutton Park, with archaeological remains from the Roman times and earlier, is now an important National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and is widely used for recreation.