History in Structure

Beoley Mill

A Grade II Listed Building in Lodge Park, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.3094 / 52°18'33"N

Longitude: -1.9179 / 1°55'4"W

OS Eastings: 405694

OS Northings: 267920

OS Grid: SP056679

Mapcode National: GBR 3HV.1YL

Mapcode Global: VH9ZV.P6YZ

Plus Code: 9C4W835J+PR

Entry Name: Beoley Mill

Listing Date: 28 November 1986

Last Amended: 30 January 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1301058

English Heritage Legacy ID: 156607

ID on this website: 101301058

Location: Abbeydale, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98

County: Worcestershire

District: Redditch

Electoral Ward/Division: Lodge Park

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Redditch

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Redditch Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

Tagged with: Mill

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A needle mill, which was changed to an electro-plating factory and was subsequently converted to domestic use, of C18 date with C19 and C20 additions and alterations.


A needle mill, which was changed to an electro-plating factory and was subsequently converted to domestic use, of C18 date with C19 and C20 additions and alterations.

MATERIALS & PLAN: colourwashed red brick, laid in English bond, with patching in stretcher bond and a gabled slate roof. The building follows the pattern of a long, thin building with numerous, closely-set windows, particularly along the south side, which was common in manufacturing buildings undertaking detailed work at benches. There appears to have been a small forge set into the southern wall at first-floor level (now bricked up) perhaps associated with hardening and tempering. The mill is approximately 3 metres deep. It has three storeys and an attic floor. Entrances are now at the gable ends and to the rear. The dam for the mill pond means that the ground floor is a semi-basement, exposed on the south side, but masked on the north. The building has been converted to domestic use at first and second floor levels, with inserted partition walls and the principal reception space at second-floor level.

EXTERIOR: the southern, road, front has seven bays of windows to the ground and first floors and nine to the second floor. Window are casements with cambered heads, and the frames appear to have all been replaced in the C20, with metal frames to the top floor and a mixture of metal and wood to the two lower floors. Window openings are taller at ground-floor level. The bay at far right has windows of four lights to all floors. All others are of two or three lights. Blank walling at right of centre marks a chimney flue which rises to a stack that rests on the wall, presumably for a furnace associated with detail work on each floor. A dentilled band runs along the building at eaves level. Circular tie rod plates appear between the floors.

The eastern front has a goods door to right with a C20 H-beam lintel. Above this are two bays to the first and second floors, each of three lights. To the gable is a taking-in door with canopy and winch.

The western front has a two-storey C19 addition to the left. This has a doorway and garage doors at ground floor level and two, C20, single-pane windows above. At left of this the gable end of the original building has a doorway to the first floor, approached up a flight of stairs, and two-light windows to the second floor and attic.

The north front, facing towards the mill pond, is largely masked by a C20 addition at ground and first floor levels. The ground floor level is masked by the mill pond dam on this side. This has clapboarded walling to the first floor rear at left and a continuous row of paired windows at second floor level which have round-arched heads. At right the original brick rear wall of the mill is exposed at first-floor level, where a three-light casement and a doorway can be seen. In front of this, a brick wall and pier support the projecting first-floor which has continuous glazing. Running along the whole of the C20 frontage is a lean-to awning with corrugated, clear plastic sheeting, supported by metal poles. Similar sheeting forms the roof to the whole of the C20 extension. The late-C19 addition to the north-west of the original mill building appears at far right as two gable ends.

INTERIOR: ceilings are mainly boarded at ground and first floor levels, but beams with chamfered edges and stepped end stops can be seen to the first and second floors. Wooden wall posts appear to have been inserted to prop beam ends at a later date and metal, H-shaped girders have been placed alongside beams for similar reasons. Floor boards, where exposed, are wide and have been patched. The wide, cross-axial hearth at the centre of the building has been converted to domestic use and re-fronted with coursed-stone. Parts of the centre of the original rear wall have been opened out at second floor level to allow access to the C20 extension.

The attic shows two ranks of chamfered purlins to the roof. It was ceiled at one stage, but this has now been removed. Trusses have collars. Joints are pegged and bolted.


The mill building is one of several placed along the Arrow Valley and Abbey Dale, where a network of waterways and ponds, fed by the river, helped to power the needle mills in which Redditch specialised from the early C17 onwards. A predominantly C17 building (The Hollies & The Mill House, Grade II) stands on the other side of Marlfield Lane from the present mill building. It has timber framing to two floors which was later overlayed with an external brick skin. It was latterly the mill house, but its long, narrow form may indicate a history of milling on the site from a relatively early date using power from the Arrow River.

A series of references in the C19 show that there were two mills called Beoley Mill, set to the north and south of two large mill ponds and roughly a third of a mile apart. It is probable, since they were both fed by the same system of watercourses, that they were originally under one ownership. This appears to have been the case at the time of an advertisement placed in Aris's Birmingham Gazette in January 1836 which offered for sale 'Beoley Corn and Needle Mills' and 'Beoley Paper Mills', together with a residence for each mill, two farms and various parcels of land. By September 1841, however, this sizeable holding appears to have been split, and the same newspaper was advertising the residence and corn and needle mill, together with 45 acres, 2 roods and 10 perches of land. It is assumed that this was the present building, together with the house on the western side of Marlfield Lane and the further mill buildings immediately to the south.

This appears to be confirmed by the tithe maps and their apportionment for Worcestershire of 1837-1851, which show that William Hemming was the owner and Thomas Parr his tenant at Beoley Paper Mill, but that William Holmes owned Beoley Mill, with Samuel S George as his tenant. The Ordnance Survey (OS) map published in 1886 identified the building which is the subject of this case as a 'Needle' mill. The other mill, roughly a third of a mile to the north-west, was also called Beoley Mill and identified as a 'Needle paper' mill. The same identifications appear on the OS maps published in 1904 and 1927.

Commercial directories in the C19 show a variety of owners and tenants. In 1835 Benjamin Sarsons is recorded as a miller at Beoley Mill and in 1850 Edward Perks was shown as a needle and fish-hook manufacturer at Beoley Mill, while Thomas Parr was recorded as a paper maker, also shown as Beoley Mill (but presumably the Beoley Mill to the north). By 1873 Hemming and Sons were in a directory as needle manufacturers at Beoley Mills. At the time of the auction of the property and contents in March 1955 the owners were 'The National Needle Company' and the equipment and stock detailed was clearly to do with needle making.

Despite this, by the time of the publication of the 1938 OS map the activity on the site was given as 'electro-plating’. This may refer to the former corn mill, which is believed to be the adjacent mill building to the south-east. The post-war map of 1965 calls the buildings ‘works’, as is the case on present day maps. The present building is shown with its current footprint on all of the OS maps, save that a further portion was added to the northern side of the western end by the time of publication of the 1904 OS map. On all of these maps the mill pond to the north of the building is shown at its current extent and the channel to the water wheel runs to the east of the building and appears to power a mill wheel in the same place as the present housing of an undershot wheel (now removed).

Redditch became the centre of the needle-making industry in England in the C19 and exported to many parts of the world. Factories became larger in scale and sometimes specialist in the functions that they performed. However, in the C18, the quantity of needles produced was smaller and most of the factories could encompass all of the functions of drawing, cutting and straightening wire, pointing, stamping and eyeing needles and hardening and tempering the results before scouring (cleaning) them.

Beoley Mill building follows the pattern of a long, thin building with numerous, closely-set windows, particularly along the south side, which was common in manufacturing buildings undertaking detailed work at work benches. There appears to have been a small forge set in to the southern wall at first-floor level, perhaps associated with hardening and tempering.

Reasons for Listing

Beoley Mill, Marlfield Lane, Redditch is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:
* Beoley Mill is one of relatively few examples of needle mills which date from the C18 in the Redditch district, which was a national and later an international centre of needle manufacturing;
* Despite the loss of machinery and a C20 addition to the rear, the building retains much of its indicative original structure and appearance.

Architectural interest:
* The mill building is a good example of an industrial building from the C18.

Group value:
* Beoley Mill forms a group with The Hollies Mill House (Grade II) on the opposite side of Marlfield Lane.

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