Many mills have been recorded as existing in the Sutton Coldfield
area, the earliest being a corn (wheat) mill belonging to the
lord of the manor in 1126. Most of these early mills were water
powered, Maney and Langley being the only two windmills in the
area. The remains of a horse mill have also been discovered in
the northern part of Sutton Coldfield.
Several of these water mills were built in Sutton Park, using
the many small streams for power. To maintain a water supply to
these mills, millponds were created and these still survive as
the pools of Sutton Park. Besides corn milling, many other industries
also relied on the local water power, including spade forging,
steel rolling, boring gun barrels, leather dressing, cloth fulling,
button polishing and wood sawing. Some of the mills changed their
trade during their lifetime, two mills each having three trades
before becoming derelict. Even the area that is now occupied by
the Sutton Coldfield Gracechurch Centre was once a millpond. This
provided water for Town Mill, a corn (wheat) mill, with the Parade,
previously called The Dam, later built along the line of the millpond
New Hall Mill, originally milling wheat to provide flour for
the local area, underwent various rebuilding changes throughout
the years. Later, when larger roller mills could provide better
quality flour at a lower price, the miller abandoned flour production
and concentrated on part-time production of grist or animal feed.
For this, he used a very noisy hammer mill powered by the diesel
engine, the waterwheel being ignored as a unreliable power source.
New Hall Mill, downstream of Sutton Park and Sutton Coldfield,
originally abstracted water from the Ebrook. A map of The
Mills of Sutton Coldfield, based on extensive research by
Ken Williams into the lost mills of the area, shows how the water
could have been used many times by mills upstream before it was
abstracted at New Hall Mill. Additional information on these mills
may be obtained on Open Days.
Sutton Park, with archaeological remains from the Roman times and
earlier, is now an important National Nature Reserve, a Site of
Special Scientific Interest, and is widely used for recreation.