What is now the playground and adjacent cafe, Spooners Wheel used to stand as one of the earliest wheels in the valley, which contributed heavily to the production of tools and cutlery across Rivelin Valley.
ABOUT SPOONERS WHEEL
Spooners Wheel and associated water management system (including New Dam) are the remains of a water-powered site that dates from at least 1637, and is amongst the earliest to be built in the Rivelin Valley.
It was variously used for grinding files, saws, fenders, scythes and cutlery, and as a knife forge. The site was in ruins by 1936.
The two mill houses, each with its own water wheel located between the two buildings, stood where the Rivelin Park Café is today.
The Spooners mill dam was originally fed by a long head goit (a small man-made channel for transporting water) from the weir about 300m upstream of the mill dam.
Records show that the Websters of Cloughfields held a lease from at least 1637, but the first record of the Spooner family here is in 1716, when a lease names William Spooner and James Bromley as lessees.
In 1794 a lease indicates 16 trows (or troughs, often rented out to individual grinders) for working by a total of 24 men. And in 1814 four fender trows, two saw trows, three file trows and five cutlers’ trows were recorded.
'New Dam' was built in the early 1850s, replacing part of the head goit, to provide an additional water supply for Spooners Wheel following a demand for more waterpower.
What remains now?
The Rivelin Park children’s playground was built on the site of the mill dam in the 1950s and the area landscaped. Although nothing remains of the Spooners' buildings, traces of the water management system can still be seen. Of particular interest are the remains of New Dam (at one time used as a swimming pool) and the 17th century stone tunnel through the hillside.
The weir is in poor condition, but some water is still diverted into a stream flowing through the drained (and now wooded) mill dam. The overflow from the dam (at the eastern end) is now crossed by a footpath bridge. Water from the stream flows out of the dam at the deep drainage level and drops steeply into the river via a short channel. The dam outlet into the Spooners' tunnel is nearby.
Rivelin Valley Conservation Group (RVCG) - https://rivelinvalley.org.uk
Sheffield City Council