Stott Park bobbin mill, two mill ponds and site of Stott Park smithy


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Stott Park bobbin mill, two mill ponds and site of Stott Park smithy
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Lakeland (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SD 37155 88156, SD 37208 88212

Reasons for Designation

Bobbin mills were constructed during the 19th century originally in response to the demand for wooden bobbins and reels for the growing cotton trade predominantly based in Lancashire. Many of these mills were founded in the valleys of south Lakeland where raw materials for the production of bobbins - water to power the machinery and wood for coppicing - were available in profusion. Such was the demand that corn mills and even iron furnaces were converted to bobbin manufacture and at the height of production in the late 19th century there were over 60 mills in operation in Cumberland, Westmorland and north Lancashire. The mills were originally water powered but steam engines, turbines, and latterly electric motors became the chief sources of power to drive the machines which sawed, bored, dried, sculptured and polished the bobbins and the variety of other wooden objects such as handles, shafts, rollers, pulleys, poles and dowels which were also manufactured. The main components of a bobbin mill comprised at least one or more mill ponds from which water was channeled to power the waterwheel, a wheelpit, coppice barns where the wood was stored and dried prior to use, sawing sheds where cutting the wood into manageable lengths was undertaken, drying rooms and sheds, lathe sheds where the wood was turned, engine rooms, a blacksmith's room where tools and machinery could be manufactured and repaired, and storage sheds where the finished product would be kept until transportation. Since the mid-20th century the virtual disappearance of the Lancashire textile industry and the use of cheaper plastic in place of wood has reduced the demand to the extent that virtually all the bobbin mills have now closed. Stott Park bobbin mill is the best surviving example of the bobbin manufacturing industry in the country. It is operated as a working museum and contains original machinery, engines, turbines and a boiler. The mill's water management system survives well and the monument also contains fragmentary traces of Stott Park smithy.


The monument includes Stott Park bobbin mill, two mill ponds, and the site of the now demolished Stott Park smithy. It is located on the western side of Windermere some 800m south of the village of Finsthwaite and is divided into two separate areas. The larger area contains the bobbin mill, its associated buildings, a mill pond, an outlet stream and the site of Stott Park smithy, while the smaller area contains a mill pond and outlet stream. The bobbin mill comprises a core complex of mainly stone buildings grouped around a courtyard. These include lathe shops, an engine house, a boiler room and chimney, a blacksmith's shop, a circular saw shed, two coppice sheds and a wheelpit. At the rear of this group of buildings there are two drying sheds; one constructed of corrugated metal sheeting, the other of timber and corrugated metal sheeting. The main building is of two storeys and contains a variety of machinery. The ground floor is divided into four rooms; one room contains a blocking saw, saw bench and electric drive motor; another room contains lathes, borers, a grinder, and an electric drive motor; a further room contains a static steam engine; and a further room contains the original Lancashire boiler. The upper storey is divided into two rooms; the toolroom contains grindstones and a feathering cutter, and the old lathe room contains polishing barrels, a boring spindle and a lathe. The water pit at the rear of the buildings contains a water turbine. The mill was originally powered by a waterwheel fed from a mill pond to the south which in turn was fed by water originating in High Dam c.1km to the north west and piped from the dam's outflow stream. A leat runs from the mill pond downhill before now being conveyed to the mill through a pipe. To the west of the buildings there is an overflow pond which originally may have provided water power for Stott Park smithy, the location of which is known from a plan of the site. The remains of the smithy are fragmentary and consist of a short length of walling now forming part of the northern coppice shed, and traces of a wall foundation running to the outflow stream at the rear of the mill. This outflow stream is channeled by stone retaining walls as far as the roadbridge downstream of the mill. Stott Park bobbin mill was built in 1835 by John Harrison and originally consisted of a single lathe shop. It was founded on the need for bobbins and reels for the textile trades of Lancashire, but also produced a large variety of other goods including pick, hammer, axe and mallet shafts, file handles, bill-hook handles, spade crowns, milk-can handles, toggles, and latterly spout bobbins and wire bobbins. Locally coppiced wood such as birch, ash and sycamore was generally used but occasionally specific woods such as imported hickory was brought in for use in the manufacture of certain products. The mill was powered by a waterwheel 9.8m in diameter which directly drove the line-shafting within the building. The individual machines were driven by means of belting which connected the pulleys on the machines to those on the shaft. It is not known how long the waterwheel was in operation but it is thought that the first turbine was installed at the mill before 1858. About 1880 a 20 hp single-cylinder steam engine was introduced to the mill and a second lathe shop built by the then owners Newby Wilson. However, it was found to consume too much fuel, thus a second turbine was installed about 1890. This was located in the wheelpit and could not be overhauled with ease, with the result that a third turbine was brought into use in 1931 and worked in tandem with the steam engine. The steam engine was superseded by two electric motors in 1941 and these worked until the closing of the mill in 1971. The turbine was generally used to drive the saw shop and the old mill, while the steam engine and latterly the electric motors, were used to drive the main mill. Although the early waterwheel was superseded and eventually removed, the same line-shafting continued to turn the machinery until the mill ceased production. In 1983 the mill was reopened as an industrial monument. The buildings and the surrounding land enclosed within a triangle of roads are in the care of the Secretary of State. All benches, information posts, post and wire fences, and the surface of all paths are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
English Heritage, , Stott Park Bobbin Mill, (1990)
Marshall, J D, Davies Shiel, M, The Industrial Archaeology of the Lake Counties, (1977), 69
Marshall, J D, Davies Shiel, M, The Industrial Archaeology of the Lake Counties, (1977), 66-75
Marshall, J D, Davies Shiel, M, The Industrial Archaeology of the Lake Counties, (1977), 69
To Robinson,K.D. (MPPA), Nield, M (Mill manager), (1995)
To Robinson,K.D. (MPPA), Nield, M (Mill manager), (1995)
To Robinson,K.D. (MPPA), Nield, M (Mill manager), (1995)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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