Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,441 pages of information and 233,876 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Willsbridge Mill

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of Willsbridge, South Glos. (near Keynsham and Bitton).

Now home to the Avon Wildlife Trust's visitor centre

c.1716 Established as an iron mill by John Pearsall (1683-1762). In 1811 Thomas Pearsall, John Pearsall Senior's grandson, took out Patent 3503 for 'A Method of Constructing Ironworks for Certain parts of Buildings'. They achieved initial success, and in 1813 supplied ironwork to John Rennie for the roofs of the rum sheds at the West India Docks. These were failures and had to be replaced by stronger structures. This led to Pearsall's bankruptcy. John Winwood of Bristol was a major creditor, and tried to sell the mill (see below). The sale failed, do he converted the premises to a flour mill.[1]

1816 'Capital Iron-Mills, Steel-Works, and Estates' advertised for sale due to bankruptcy of Thomas Pearsall, of Willsbridge Iron-works, Bitton, Glos, iron hoop manufacturer and steel maker. The mill's work of slitting and rolling iron into hoops and converting iron into steel 'has been carried on for forty years'. There was an extensive mill pond, but a 35 HP steam engine was installed for times of water shortage.[2].

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 1 - 1500-1830', Thomas Telford Publishing, 2002: entry for Thomas Pearsall by M. M. Chrimes
  2. [2] London Gazette, Jan - June 1816, p.513