Aerial View of the Brass Mill taken by Drone.  3 Jan 2019
Brass Mill 
Africa Trade
Saltford Brass Mill Project
Copyright (C) 2020 Saltford Brass Mill Project. All Rights Reserved
Registered Charity Number

Scheduled Monument        

Grade II* Listed Building 

Battery Mill
Dynamo Room
Annealing Furnace
Rolling Mill
A Postcard of Saltford Mill.  c. 1925 around the time of the mill's closure as a brass mill
Virtual Tour

The Saltford Brass Mill Project have commissioned a virtual tour of the mill.
A trial was carried out in mid 2020 during the period of closure due to coronavirus. The mill was in its "hibernated state", the displays having been packed away to prevent harm from flooding, as often occurs in the winter months. The trial gives viewers an impression of the scale of the mill, even in its much diminished scale and condition.
A second 'tour' was produced in 2021, following a programme of major improvements to the displays made possible by a legacy from the estate of the late Joan Day, the founder of the Saltford Brass Mill Project.
Click to view Virtual Tour Version 1 - "in hibernation"

Mill Building

Early Beginnings

There has been a mill in Saltford since before the Great Survey of 1086, the Domesday Book recording a mill of rateable value of 12s 6d; which was a sizeable mill for the area, the eight mills in Keynsham being rated collectively at 4 5s and the four mills at Twerton 3.  The early mill would have been a corn or grist mill.

In later centuries the mill was adapted for fulling or tucking; the thickening process of hand-woven woollen cloth.  The process involved the use of water driven trip hammers to pound woven cloth in a solution of fuller's earth.  This removed lanolin from the wool and thickened the cloth to create felt.  Fulling ceased in the late 1600s with the bankruptcy of the owner, but the present building may well contain fragments of that earlier structure.

Bristol Brass Company

The Bristol Brass Company leased the site in 1721 and modified the mill to become a brass battery mill.  The Swedish traveller RR Angerstein visited the mill in 1754 where he observed "on the road between Keynsham and Bath there is a brass mill comprising three workshops and twelve hammers".

Nineteenth Century

An inventory of the mill taken in 1859 states that the mill then comprised two battery mills and a rolling mill:

Battery Mill No 1: 1 waterwheel (15' x 3' 6"); 3 hammers; 245 hammer heads; 48 anvils; and 1 annealing oven.

Battery Mill No 2: 1 waterwheel (15' x 3' 6"); 3 hammers; 199 hammer heads; 36 anvils; and 1 annealing oven.

Rolling Mill: 2 waterwheels, each 15' x 3' 6"; driving 3 pairs of shears and 2 pairs of rolls (5' 6" and 3' 6"); plus 2 annealing ovens.

Early Twentieth Century

The 1903 OS map shows that the mill then stretched from the Shallows road to near the river bank. Battery work ceased in 1908 but rolling continued until 1925. Thereafter, the mill was again adapted for a different use with the installation of the squash court and dynamo. The 1932 OS map shows that by that date the western battery mill and its furnace had been demolished to enable widening of the road. One of the western annealing furnaces had also been demolished by this date.

Late Twentieth Century

The condition of the mill deteriorated in the post war period with the western workshops becoming ruinous. The second western furnace was also demolished. The Avon Industrial Buildings Trust leased the building in the early 1980s and conserved the surviving furnace with the remaining structure being conserved in the mid-1990s, funded by English Heritage.

Today, about 1/3 of the mill remains extant, comprising four workshops: the battery mill / squash court; the annealing furnace; the rolling mill; and the dynamo room.

Click to view Virtual Tour Version 2 - "Open for Visitors"
The Old Chapel

Across the road from the Brass Mill there is a chapel which dates from 1865.
The chapel was a Primitive Methodist Chapel, the memorial stone stating that it was laid on 31st October 1865 by H.O.Wills, a leading member of the Wills Tobacco Company.
The chapel could seat 120 people and cost c.200 to build, with most of the funds being raised by local subscription.  The chapel was a daughter chapel to Westgate Primitive Methodist Chapel in Westgate Buildings in Bath.
The chapel was used as a Methodist Chapel until 1930 when its was converted to a Working Mans Club.  The club closed in the late 1960s and became derelict before being sold in the early 1980s and converted to a private residence.
A short history of the chapel is at the link below.
History of the Old Chapel