Saltford Brass Mill

The former brass battery mill located on the banks of the River Avon at The Shallows, Saltford is one of the few remaining premises of the thirty or so establishments associated with the extensive eighteenth century brass and copper industry which was centred on the Avon river valley. The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, containing the most complete annealing furnace to survive in the countr,. There is also one working water wheel remaining of the five which provided power for the battery hammers, rolling mills and shears which were once housed in the buildings. Restored from dereliction in the 1980’s, the hi11 is maintained by a voluntary Project Group which had its origins in BIAS, a number of current members being part of the Group. Volunteers maintain the fabric and environs of the building, having rebuilt the water wheel and reconstructed part of the annealing furnace over recent times. Regular working parties are held on alternate Saturday mornings when help is needed to continue maintenance and to develop the displays. Members of the Project Group are also on hand to welcome visitors on regular Open Days during the summer months and when organised parties come to view the Mill.

Our Volunteer Co-ordinators are Tony Coverdale secretary@brassmill.com and Patrick Beazley 07823 321 768 enquiries@brassmill.com

We don’t normally put the displays back until National Mills Weekend in May so the risk of flooding is low – we have been caught out before. The mill is a scheduled monument and grade II* listed building, described by the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments as an unusual survivor of the Bristol Brass Industry. The remains are unique, probably in Europe.

Last autumn in 2018, we dammed the head-race leat and dewatered the subterranean watercourses to inspect the masonry and survey / repair the penstock gates. We were able to carry out a laser scan of the watercourses and a drone survey of the external structure – we now have over 300 GB of data to interpret. A report on the survey is at http://brassmill.com/saltford_brass_mill_021.htm

Three of the penstock gates are now operational and show how the river would have been controlled. We also have a series of working scale models to show how different waterwheels work, and of course the real working waterwheel driving a 1920s dynamo and circular saw.

Within the mill we have a display describing the mining and smelting of copper and the melting of brass. We have a replica battery hammer, a replica set of rolls and of course the real annealing furnace.