Monument record M4995 - BOLHAM MILLS AT EAST RETFORD


TANNERY (Medieval to Late 20th Century); WATERMILL (Medieval to Late 20th Century)


Grid reference SK 70499 82579 (point)
Map sheet SK78SW
District Bassetlaw
Civil Parish East Retford, Bassetlaw


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Bolham Mills. (1) (2)
Messrs Ashworths' Bolham Mills ... works occupies a small area of flat land beside the Idle, at the foot of a steep sandstone cliff. The site is very old, having been mentioned in DB, but the main part of the present mill was probably built c 1800. It was making paper until c 120 years ago, when the Ashworths took it over for leather tanning. Power is still provided by one of 2 waterwheels which can be seen in situ. Close by are 12 houses, now empty, which appear to be contemporary with the conversion from paper to leather, and overlooking the site from the top of the cliff is the house occupied by the Ashworths until c 10 years ago. (3)
Tannery, c 1800, very large. Still fully operational, water is apparently the only form of power. It seems likely to continue in use for the time being. Essentially consists of 2 parallel ranges running E-W enclosing long narrow yard, containing vats etc. At E end of yard runs R Idle, passing under N range of buildings which house the wheels. The S range seems to have no power from the river, work done not ascertained. The N range seems to contain cutting shops etc. To the N of the N range lies a yard containing a boiler house. Built as a paper mill, c 1850 used for hide cutting (hairs from hides used for fishing industry). 2 wheels, only one working which appears to drive entire plant. This wheel is 8ft broad, 12ft diam, 34 paddles (only wooden parts), 7 arms. Wheel 2, unused for c 20 years, 5ft broad, 12ft diam, 7 arms, many paddles missing. Both breast-shot. (--/09/1963, 15/12/1966). (4)
Water power is no longer used and the water works have been obliterated to a large extent. Part of the sandstone cliff has been cut into to provide rooms for the mill and for part of the dwellings that were formerly on the site. (5)
The mill at Bolum was in the demesne of Gringeley. The tythes of the mills of Bolum were part of the vicarage of Clarburgh, by the ordination of Sewall, arch-bishop of York, 1258. (7)
This mill, mentioned at Domesday, has at various times powered corn milling, saw milling, candlewick manufatury, paper making, tanning and wood turning, sometimes at the same time. The final building was erected c 1800 with two waterwheels, one still being used in 1965. The wheel was a large wooden one in 1707. Later it was a 13ft diameter, undershot, double paddle span, 8ft 9in wide. In 1771 the paper mill was rebuilt as a candlewick manufactury. In 1825 it was a corn mill with four pairs of stones. In 1835 it was a cornmill, wood turning mill and a glazed board mill. In 1844 a new reservoir was built. By 1850 it was for sale as a corn, paper and saw mill. In 1851 it worked four pairs of French stones, one pair of grey stones, two dressing machines, a corn screen and had a four storey warehouse. In 1854 it was extended as a purpose built paper mill. In 1866 it was unused. By 1877 it was working with water and steam. The paper mill closed in 1883, the site being bought by Edwin Ashworth to cure buffalo hides. In the late C20 it was pulled down and the site redeveloped as flats. (8)

Data Held (Document). SNT2647.

Sketch, IS card

Data Held (Document). SNT2647.

(5), Ind Arch File

Data Held: Ground Photograph (Ground photograph). SNT2646.

1 Colour print, SMR

<1> Chapman J, 1774, Nottinghamshire - approx 1in (Map). SNT550.

<2> Sanderson G, 1836, Nottinghamshire - 1in (Map). SNT47.

<3> Smith DM, 1965, The Industrial Archaeology of the East Midlands, pp 156,276 (Published document). SNT1304.

<4> CBA, Industrial Survey, IA1 27/5 (Published document). SNT184.

<5> Reedman K, 1977, Pers Comm (Personal comment). SNT1180.

<6> Pevsner N, 1979, The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire 2nd ed., p 81 (Monograph). SNT4.

<7> Throsby J, 1796, Thoroton's History of Notts Vol 3, pp 280-1 (Published document). SNT1347.

<8> Morley D, 1997, Corn and Cotton - Waterpower in Notts (draft), p 7 (Unpublished document). SNT1693.

Sources/Archives (11)

  • --- Ground photograph: Data Held: Ground Photograph.
  • --- Document: Data Held.
  • --- Document: Data Held.
  • <1> Map: Chapman J. 1774. Nottinghamshire - approx 1in.
  • <2> Map: Sanderson G. 1836. Nottinghamshire - 1in.
  • <3> Published document: Smith DM. 1965. The Industrial Archaeology of the East Midlands. pp 156,276.
  • <4> Published document: CBA. Industrial Survey. IA1 27/5.
  • <5> Personal comment: Reedman K. 1977. Pers Comm.
  • <6> Monograph: Pevsner N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire 2nd ed.. Penguin. p 81.
  • <7> Published document: Throsby J. 1796. Thoroton's History of Notts Vol 3. pp 280-1.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Morley D. 1997. Corn and Cotton - Waterpower in Notts (draft). p 7.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Jan 19 2023 7:34PM

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