Edgbaston Mill

Excavations at Edgbaston Mill, Birmingham

Ironbridge Archaeology recently excavated the remains of a historic mill at Edgbaston, Birmingham. The work was carried out in advance of the construction of a major residential and commercial development at the site.

Every manor had its manorial corn mill in the middle ages, and Edgbaston was no exception. The mill on the River Rea was first recorded in 1284, and was enlarged by the later fifteenth century. By 1700 the mill comprised four sets of grinding stones, and was subsequently considerably expanded, so that by the end of the eighteenth century there were two water wheels and five sets of grinding stones. From the 1840s the mill appears to have declined, and was converted to agricultural use in the 1880s. In the twentieth century the watercourses were filled in, and some of the buildings became used as a sports and social club until the whole complex was demolished in the early 1990s.

Our excavations, which took place in the shadow of the famous Edgbaston International cricket ground, revealed the full extent of the mill complex. There were two headraces supplying water to the mill, one of substantial stone construction and another of clay and brick which dated to the eighteenth century. We also discovered one of the later iron water wheels in situ in the northern wheelpit. The site also saw post-medieval domestic activity, as well as the small-scale industrial manufacture of bone buttons.