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Bullocks Mill on Cliveland Street

Ann Steiner

master brummie
Wonder if anyone knows what this place was. I found it while looking through the 1855 Birmingham City Directory for a x3 great-grandfather. He was a wood turner. I found him listed at Ct 7, on Cliveland St., 275 New Town row.

The numbers start from the beginning at 16 with one resident, then 17 with one resident, then 19 with one man's name, then Bullocks Mill in Italics, followed by 11 more men before the next number, which is Court 4.

Toward the end of the street numbers is listed Thomas Bullock and Son at #67, which I know was a button manufacturing facility.

I know this dates before the Kelly Directories begin, but does anyone have any ideas what Bullocks Mill might have been? I looked for it in our archives search, but didn't find any mention. It wasn't a pub -- I looked through that category in the trades section of the directory.

The mill on Cliveland street in 1890 was a flour mill. I suspect that there were many button manufacturers in Birmingham and some joined into one larger company from time to time. I am not sure why a button manufacturing factory would be called a mill. The reason probably dated back to the olden water power days and carried on after steam engines came into use.
Rupert -- thank you for responding. Is the flour mill you mention from 1890 called Bullocks? So it would have been the same in the 1855 Directory then?

The button manufacturer wasn't Bullocks Mill I don't think -- that enterprise was further down the street from what I can determine, and called Thomas Bullock and Son. I THINK. That's why I'm a bit confused. Maybe there happened to be two separate businesses with the same name of Bullock?

Where's Mike?!

The mill appears in several directories. Bullock’s Thomas Bullock , bone (& horn in some cases) button manufacturer are listed in directories from at least 1829, and around 1845 the name Bullock’s Steam Mills is usually given. Bwtween 1852 and 1855, Bullock’s firm moves across the road to Cliveland Road Works, while a number of small firms move into Bullock’s mill, which seems to be like a factory centre. The Mill seems to have been a home to several small manufacturers. It could have still been owned by Bullock and he was into what is now known as property management, or else it just retained its old name. . This may be is supported by a 1946 london Gazette mention (https://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/20001/pages/1946/page.pdf ) of William Betts' insolvency, where it mentions that the firm formerly rented mill power from bullock's mill, though this notice is somewhat later than the times being discussed.
Between 1868 and 1872 the small firms move out, and the site is occupied by by Robert Evans & son, millers, who either rebuild or just rename Bullocks mill as Cliveland mill . Both Cliveland works and Cliveland Street flour mill are shown on the map c 1889 below, almost opposite each other

Hurrah -- Mike comes through again! Thank you so much. The word "mill" had me confused, as I couldn't see a connection between that and button manufacturing. Also the fact that the name was included, in italics, with a list of men presumably living at #19 Cliveland. Now I see they weren't living there, but had small businesses in the building. From the map you included, it would appear the street was a mix of both industry and residential living.

Thanks again, Mike.

Yes, but Anne, take note that the map was 1889, a bit later than the time you were querying.
This may be interesting and related. If you Google something like 'Birmingham button manufacturers trademarks' there is a site that lists these marks and gives further information. It gives button samples and mark impressions and some dates and old addresses. It seems that drop stamped brass buttons had the makers mark on them.
Actually this thread raises other historical possibilities....Why was the mill in that location? There was another mill below Snow Hill I think and Priory Brook ran through thereabouts. I think that there is good reason to believe that a leat from Priory Brook fed the old Priory fish pond which was located about where The Grand Hotel is. Where the water went from there is not altogether known but one might think that it went down the hill to where the brook/later canal? was, to re-enter the brook. Perhaps it could have gone via mill waterwheels below Snow Hill and maybe in Cliveland Street also many years ago. These mills being converted to steam power later. We have pictures of this somewhere.
We have information on here of a water driven gindstone that was located in Ann Street which may have used the old leat to the Priory fish pond on Colmore Row; after it was gone. The water may have drained down the hill to the old Manor House below the Bull Ring at that time....or not depending on requirements.
We have snippits of information that are intreagueing...at least I find them so. We are talking about the time way before steam power and the transition to the same.

I looked up button makers, as you suggested, and on one site noted that Edward Armfield, on Carpenter Road, is listed as making buttons from 1763 to the present. (Or at least to the time-frame when that website was created.) Two-hundred and forty-eight years. Amazing! And interesting to think about the possibility of the earlier mills being driven by brooks in the area.

And Mike, I hadn't noted that the map you supplied was from 1889. It looks like many of the structures are large, commercial works though, so possibly not too much had gone on in the way of change? Or maybe there had been more residential and they were taken over and converted into manufacturing and commercial works in the years between 1855 and 1889.

At the time we were originally discussing it was listed as a steam mill, but, as you rightly say, there may well have originally been a water mill on the site. The 1839 map shows a watercourse to the north of Cliveland st, which seems to end to the west of the then) General hospital. It is just a short length and must go underground at either end. It is shown below. Part of the stream seems to be shown in the 1889 map behind the buildings at the east end of the street, though it seems to end at Cliveland Works . This is of course the wrong side of the road for Bullocks mill, but there could have been a branch leading south at one time, possibly at some time draining into the canal.
It does seem that it was not as built up in 1839, though this may well have altered by 1855. then only maps i have seen of that period ar enot detailed, and it is impossible to tell

We know about the Old Square Priory fish pond and believe that this was fed from a leat off Priory Brook. This would place the leat south of the later canal and it may have then led to a water mill at the bottom of Snow/Constitution hills. This is called an old steam mill on the 1890 survey. The flour mill on Cliveland is just to the east of this and also on the south side of Priory brook. All of which leads to the conjecture that leats from the brook fed the two mills here. Anyway perhaps later the stream was incorporated into the canal and used as make-up water with excess to be drained off, further down, into Hockley Brook...below Dartmouth Street somewhere. Interesting; I don't think that we have ever expanded on this.
To the west of Snow Hill there are several locks leading up to Brindley Place; so that a stream running down there would have plenty of head loss to use for something. Maybe Priory Brook was used for more than we know. I think that we may be able to add one more mill to our list and possibly two. Must re-read the mills of birmingham again to see if this has been mentioned before.
I recall searching the census for the mills on Snow Hill, I felt there was at least one that was eluding us. Loisand is the Queen of the Mills and if she reads this I am sure she will have something to add.
Ha Ha Di.....you knew the mention of mills in what ever form and I would be there having a good nose.....the only other information I can add at the moment is that according to Birmingham Council listed buildings of 2007 that Bullocks Mill was deemed as a Grade B listed building, whether this has changed in the last few years I hope not!!!!!
Sorry a bit off topic, but if you come across any info on a corn mill at the bottom of Snow Hill, I'm interested and would be eternally grateful. :) Viv.
Thanks for the pointer Rupert. Found Parker's Corn Mill & Bakehouse in there (originally built and owned by James Pickard) Very interesting snippets of the Mill's history too. Apologies for going off topic. Viv.
An article from the Birmingham Journal of December 1845 gives details of a sad accident that resulted in the death of a young girl.

It shows that Mr. Bullock hired out mill power.