The Screw Mill
probably began as a corn mill. During the 17th century the water
wheel was converted to drive the bellows of an iron smelting furnace.
Hence the name Furnace Pool for the mill pond. The presence of iron
and coal in the area led to this change of use.
The iron and coal were extracted
either from open cast sites or shallow; bell-pits. Small nuggets
of hematite were also found and these were exported to the button
makers of Birmingham. Smelting was probably done using charcoal,
but there is no reference to a forge on the site so it seems likely
that the pig iron was transported to Burton on Trent for conversion
to wrought iron.
The furnace was probably situated
in the area of the present car park and cottages. Sometime around
1712 the furnace ceased operations and the site was used as a smithy.
The next phase in the development
of the site came in 1767 when William Wyatt, an engineer from Burton
on Trent, took out a patent for a screw cutting machine. The screws
cut by Wyatt's lathes resembled a modern bolt rather than a screw
and required the carpenter to drill a hole of the correct size.
As the screw was turned in the hole it cut a thread into the wood.
The mill at Hartshorne was purchased by a group of Burton businessmen
who formed a company called Shorthose (often misspelled as Shorthouse), Wood and Company who also
had another water driven manufactory in Tatenhill. Stebbings Shaw,
historian and Rector of St. Peters Church wrote in 1796, that the
screw mill employed 59 people, many of them children and that they
produced an average of 1,200 gross of screws per week by means of
36 engines powered from the water wheel. Children
and adults were employed from 1/- 6d to 19/- (see Archive/Glossary)
The mill continued to thrive until
changing technology, the invention of the gimlet ended screw and
the introduction of steam power led to its demise about 1846. After
this the mill was used as a saw mill and maltings.
Mill was recorded as working in 1943 doing a little corn grinding
and wood sawing.
The mill lay derelict for many years
until, in 1987, Mr John Holland undertook a complete renovation
of the mill. The 24 feet diameter overshot water wheel (one of the
finest in the country) was removed and completely restored and is
operating again, albeit via an electric pump and is an attractive
feature of the pub and restaurant now known as The Old Water Mill.