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Aston Furnace Location

loisand

master brummie
Can you please do a check for me, Aston Furnace Mill moved to Alma Street in 1865, thankyou
:flower: :cat:
 

gingerjon

master brummie
Loisand I have take this extract from the Ralph Martindale story (Crocodile Works Alma street) this factory took up the first few hundred yards of Alma street which would have meant the Brook ran through his factory what we need is a map of the circa Chavasse sole the busines to Martindale
 

Peter Walker

gone but not forgotten
Yet another fascinating story. As a kid I was taken by the name 'Crocodile Works', and could never understand how a factory could get a name like that. (I didn't know then that they started there making swords, but that wouldn't solve my problem anyway).
Presumably they would have used water power both to blow a bellows to get a good heat in the furnace, and also to grind the sword blades.
Looking at the few old small scale maps I have, it seems that before about 1860, Aston/Hockley Brook ran in duplicate for most of the way between Hockley and the 'official' Aston Mill, not far from Miller Street tram sheds. The main stream ran to the south, while what appears to have been a mill race with pond ran parallel, a hundred yards or so to the north. When the land was sold for house-building, it seems that the mill stream and associated pond were filled in, and the main brook was culverted from Wellesley Street to Lennox Street. It then ran in the open, under Guildford Street, Porchester Street, Alma Street [and Martindale's factory], Aston High Street, Elkington Street and Lichfield Road, after which it was diverted when Windsor Street gas works were built, to do two right-angle turns before passing under Chester Street and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, after which it turned left and flowed parallel with the canal to meet the Tame near Salford Bridge.
Looking at these old documents, I can't help agreeing to what John said a month or two ago, that you can't believe everything that's written down. I think you can go further and not believe the old maps either.
Peter
 

loisand

master brummie
Thanks Michael, have downloaded that bit of info, along with the maps from above. According to the info I already have : 1783 furnace blown out, 19th century Aston Furnace became a paper mill, worked by steam, 1845 became a wire mill. 1865 premises moved to Alma Street and became Aston Furnace Mills. This one is certainly a central library job. Once again thanks to all concerned on the help you are giving.
 
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gingerjon

master brummie
alma street 1868

note the company Chevase became the crocodile works and was right on the Aston Brook stream no mention of Aston mill
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Aston Furnace stood on the corner of Furnace Lane and Porchester Street....in was never a mill but used to work the furnace with the water from Hockley Brook
 

Rupert

master brummie
I spent some time looking at this thread and came to the conclusion that the mill pond was in the area bounded by Burlington Street, Webster street and Parliament Street on the 1890 map reference. If you look at the shape of these roads they may have been routed originally to go around a pond. At the bottom right there seems to be what may have been a filled in stream leading down away to the right. If you follow this down it leads to Aston Brook Flour Mills underground at this point. Below all of this is Phillips Road which runs above Hockley Brook and below Aston Brook.
The GE ref shows the area today and one of the roads there now is called Bourne Mill Drive. Does this indicate that there was a mill there, maybe the one on Johns old map. Off to the left of all of this is the Alma Street Works and Furnace Lane where according to Mike Ingram’s ref. there was a blast furnace originally forced by a water wheel and then a Newcomen engine. Hockley Brook ran through this site as Cromwell said.
So was the pond on Johns old map fed by Aston Brook and was that mill called Bourne Mill and have I got the location right. The old map is not to any scale I think but some features tie in.
If you look at the larger scale GE you will see what looks like a waterwheel of paths with a centre hub that seems to make up a childrens play ground. Surely this is no accident and someone knowing the history of the terain has planned it. There looks like a pond there that is for all the world symbolising a tun. Anyone know anything about it?​

 
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O.C.

Guest
Can you please do a check for me, Aston Furnace Mill moved to Alma Street in 1865, thankyou
Aston Furnace (the one in Furnace Lane)Closed in 1865, it was never a mill it was first noted in 1615 it was associated with William Cowper (or Cooper) and thats why Cowper St is so called ......the Jenners Family used it in connection with Bromford Forge
 

Rupert

master brummie
I think the mill pond marked on Johns old map was known at one time as Potters Mill. There is an old map posted on The Mills of Birmingham #14 that shows it and a grouping of buildings that look fairly similar. This may have been fed by Aston Brook which may originally have been a leat from the main stream known as Hockley Brook. From Potters Mill the tailrace seems to have gone down to feed another pool that may have been for Aston Brook Flour Mill. The original leat (Aston Brook) may have been used to feed a paper mill and the Furnace bellows mechanism.
Upstream from Potters mill pool, tappings seem to have been taken off to feed various pools on the way to Aston Hall and thence to the Tame. These may have been to provide water for cattle, decorative, mill ponds, maybe moats for fine houses. Moats, it seems were a status symbol at one time. Bourne seems to be an ancient name. The 1890 Ordnance Survey has 'Aston Brook Flour Mill' written on it and it seems to be in a logical position downstream from what may have been Potters Mill.

I have questions though :
1. Why did the brook divide up into two:Hockley and Aston. This seems strange unless forced by the construction of a leat to maintain head.

2. If Aston Brook was a man made leat, why do some of the old maps show so much meandering?

Bear in mind that the old maps are very approximate, by guess and by god. They do help though when used with the Early Survey map but some interpretation is required. There is so much to look at now. Perhaps we need a time line to get the ponds in line.

Phillips Street... hmmm.
 
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Rod

Guest
Mills And Things

Astonbrook and Hockley Brook are one and the same surely........ Just called by two different names Dependant on where you live.
Phillips Street, not Road.
The name Phillips refers to one of the various owners of the Aston Mill originally a Fulling Mill. The Leet as far as I understand ran parallel to Aston Brook
 

Rupert

master brummie
This is a complex business. I modified Phillips Street which has sat there through much of this. The area has been raked over several times now. I still think that there may have been a pool just upstream from the squareish one that became Aston Brook Flour Mills pond. I have seen Potters mill mentioned on one map. Cromwell seems to have got most of it earlier. The stream changed configuration many times as the need required. It seems that Aston Furnace was just west of furnace lane and the Alma Street Works, with a leat feeding a pond that drove the bellows. Or was that the original run of the stream, which was dammed to form a pool and sluiced then to the Manor. Aston Brook is shown running down through the Manor Grounds. Was this the original natural route, feeding various ponds and thence to the Tame. Perhaps Hockley Brook is the man made version.
 
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gingerjon

master brummie
view brook 1839

this map gives you a better overall picture of the brook
it was Potters Hill not mill

were it says Manor of Aston look directly under the a in Aston that is Park Lane as we know it, it was Park Wall road, the triangle below the A is High Street to the left and Potters Hill to the right, this was before Alman street was built
(SUBSTITUTE)
 

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Rod

Guest
Hills

The land to the north of Phillips Street climbed quite steeply, as you head west along Phillips street then make a right turning north into Telford Street then left turning back west into Lower Webster Street this almost follows the low points at the base of the hill. This I think might have been the run of the Mill Leat.

The Flour Mill was surrounded on three sides by streets Thomas St to the eastern side,Pool Street on it's northern side, and Phillips Street on it's southern side.
 
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gingerjon

master brummie
another map of the brook

this one is medieval and shows the brook splitting in the region of Farm street Hockley end and converging at Aston Road between Phillip street and Aston Brook street
the brook is called Bourne at this time
(SUBSTITUTE)

 

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Rupert

master brummie
Yes John looks good. One hesitates to call any one of the streams Aston Brook now. The H in Potters Hill sure looks like an M though and there was a Potters Farm there seemingly. Was Shire Brook ever called Aston Brook.
 
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Rupert

master brummie
This all refers to the 1890 Ordenance Survey.

Refering to old Aston Furnace. Several maps show it as being fed by a leat from Hockley Brook. Two or three maps show a pool below this which may have been where Innerman Street was. At this point I am not sure what this fed. Gone round in circles so many times beginning to start to dissapear. Anyway I believe that the drain from this pool ran down to Aston Brook Flour Mill. It would have crossed New Town Row and run between Webster Street and Burlington Street hugging the high ground to maintain an elevation of 350' plus as much as possible. I think that the Inkerman pool would have had an elevation of 360' plus or minus
Got a thunder storm going so will get back...
Ok it's over. Anyway, as stated, what the pool at or around Inkerman was for is not known but I have seen paper mills mentioned. Anyway loosing some head at that point the stream would have followed the elevation that would have required the least work to form a channel. Possibly through Potters farm and maintaining elevation on the way to Aston Brook Flour Mill pond. It might well have had a elevation of 350' minus at that point. The pool would have been skirted by a ground rise in the east and what looks like an embankment on west side above Hockley Brook. On the map Upper Webster Street and Wilkinson Street may well have been the eastern bank coming to a point with the western embankment at Upper Webster. The leat would have crossed Upper Webster at that point I think, it may have needed banking up for the last bit of it's run. Originally of course the roads would not have been there except Phillips Street maybe. Phillips Street next to Hockley Brook seems to have an elevation of about 338 feet at the Mill, so say Hockley Brook was about 10' below, this would have given the mill wheel a head of about 22 feet over Hockley Brook. A pretty decent amount. The water from there went back into the main stream Hockley Brook right at the mill. I have seen this on one map although a 1758 map shows the two streams continuing on to Thimble Mill Lane, a good distance, before joining again.
So I surmise that what we are looking at is a long man made leat that started way back and hugged the rise that was on its northern and laterly eastern banks. The reason for it's meanderings is that it followed conveniently elevated terain requireing less banking up. If the Shire Brook running down through Aston Manor was not known as Aston Brook then this leat may well have been called such. It was long enough to be visualised as more than a leat and may have needed to be called by a name to be mentioned in legal agreements as to the use of water. The original Bourn Brook became known as Hockley Brook and was the water source.
I become confused sometimes. We know that water naturally runs down due to gravity but the idea of a leat is to keep the water elevated so that it can drop over a wheel. The bigger the drop the better. The leat would have a very shallow slope (you can get a lot of water down a 1 degree slope due to gravity) so that over distance the elevation of the water in the leat becomes higher versus the water in the stream which runs down a greater slope. This gives the head difference at the water wheel which then discharges into the tailrace which is then at the elevation of the stream at that point. The bottom of the waterwheel must be clear of the surface of the tailrace. This leat was long and had enough elevation to fulfill several uses before re-entering the stream. It's all gone now but probably the most interesting we have looked at. You can see much by reading the elevations on the old survey map and following the run of the brook, mostly underground. GE elevations also confirm within reason.
Hope this helps. It is put forward only as a personal study and is not conclusive.
 
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Rod

Guest
Great Stuff

I shall need to re-read your posting again. Inkerman street climbed NW from High Street/NewTown Row up to Alma Street. It would help greatly if we could make a diagram showing the side elevation. I tried and failed miserably at making an overlay of an old map to go over the 1917 Godfrey map I have. Thank you so much for your input on this, Ive been meaning to look at the history of the Astonbrook mill for a very long time, I just never get the time nowadays.
 
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