Saturday, 28 June 2014

River Tillingbourne. Postford Mill

River Tillingbourne
The Tillingbourne flows westwards, and divides into two, both flowing south westwards, There are also associated mill leats

Post to the south Chilworth

Colyers Hangar
Colyers Hangar. This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is on the south-facing escarpment of the Greensand Ridge, on St. Martha's Hill. It includes Ancient Woodland and an area of heath land. It is of particular interest for the diversity of the woodland which results from the geological diversity. Coarse sands in the upper slopes support pedunculate oak/birch/hazel woodland. The middle slopes support an ash and maple on light sandy soils and material leached from an outcrop of Bargate Stone. On the lower slopes at the spring line is alder. These last two are nationally rare.  It is said to be called ‘collier’s’ because of workers there who supplied charcoal to the gunpowder industry along the riverside below  - and alder wood was particularly suitable and often planted for the purpose.

Guildford Lane
Pillbox at the junction with the North Downs Way.  The pillboxes are on the Second World War stop line and were constructed by Mowlems to their design of a quickly constructed circular pillbox using metal shuttering
Pillbox in field.
Keepers Cottage

Lidwell Copse
Lid Well and stream to the Tillingbourne

Mill Lane
Mill – the mill here, at the northernmost point of Mill Lane has had a variety of names and uses.  The site here is on the parish boundary.  The Upper Mill, Waterloo Pond and Postford Pond are not in this square.
Lower Mill.  A mill here probably originates with the 'Kings Mill' in 1636  ie it was funded with money from the Crown.  A new gunpowder mill was set up with six incorporating mills on the site of Postford Mill in 1677 by Cordwell and Collins.  Sir Polycarpus Wharton, an existing gunpowder maker, was instructed to sort out problems with the gunpowder milling complex at Chilworth, including this mill the derelict remains of which appear on a survey of 1728.  The mill appears to have been abandoned in the early 18th.   The Upper Mill of this time is on the square to the east.
Postford Mill. This is the site of what was then Postford Lower Mill on Postford Pond. The Upper Mill is to the east in the next square. The Lower Mill was leased as a paper mill in 1809 by Charles Ball.  They made paper for banknotes and became bankrupt and the mill was for sale by 1821. They were taken over by Magnay and Sons, the mill was refurbished and by the mid 1830s was producing paper and a Foudrinier machine was installed. In the 1840s it was said to be the principal producer of paper in Surrey.   By the 1859s a series of operators went through many financial difficulties. The site became a flock mill but in 1886 there was a serious fire.  In 1909 the site was taken over by Charles Botting.
Bottings Mill. In 1910 Charles Botting built a turbine powered roller mill for animal feed.  This closed in 1991. There was an associated fish farm. A cast iron mill wheel from Clandon Park was installed here by the Surrey Industrial History Group.  The mill buildings were however demolished for the posh housing now on site.
Postford Mill Cottages. The original cottages were converted from the cordite press house of the Cordite factory. They were replaced by the present cottages in the 198-s.
Mill Reach – posh new offices and housing on the site of the works associated with the mill. Various ‘keep out’ notices.
Pill box to the west of the mill in the inner angle of a leat. This was part of the Second World War stop line.
Brown prismatic powder works. This dated from the 1880s and eventually spread up the north bank of the Tillingbourne.  It was set up by a specially formed Chilworth Gunpowder Company.  A row of six steam powered incorporating mills were built in 1885 and conserved by the local authority in the 1990s and they lie along the riverbank.  They have a German maker's mark of 'Burbach 1884'.  A row of brick press houses remain north of the Tillingbourne.
Cordite factory. This covered the area south of the Tillingbourne and eventually to the Dorking Road.  This Smokeless Powder Factory dated from the 1880s and was German owned, until in 1901 Vickers had a 40% ownership and it became British owned in 1915.  This was extended into a second factory to the south for the Admiralty in the Great War. A barrel roofed solvent recovery store remains.


White Lane
White Lane Farm. 18th farmhouse which is timber framed with red brick cladding on the front.
Barn. This has the date of 1783 on a beam. It is timber framed on a whitewashed and painted rubble plinth


Sources
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Colyers Hanger. Wikipedia. Web site
Crocker. Damnable Inventions
Gunpowder Mills Study Group Newsletter
Guildford Borough Council. Website
Haveron. Industrial History of Guildford
Surrey Local History Council. Surrey History

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