TitleRiver Don Millowners Association
AdminHistoryThe 1830 Waterworks Act allowed surplus water to be diverted from Wyming Brook to form the first of three reservoirs which would be constructed at Redmires at Fulwood on the outskirts of Sheffield. Wyming Brook feeds into the River Rivelin which joins the River Loxley within the Sheffield boundary at Malin Bridge. The Loxley itself rises on Bradfield Moor and flows into the River Don at Wardsend. The Don rises in the hills above Dunford Bridge and flows through Sheffield and Rotherham and onwards into the Ouse. That section, from Dunford Bridge to its junction with the Loxley, is known as the Upper Don; the section below down to just inside the Rotherham boundary is the Lower Don. The Little Don is a short stretch of river which joins the Don at Deepcar. The millowners on the rivers were known as the Upper Don Millowners, the Loxley Millowners, the Rivelin Millowners and the Lower Don Millowners respectively. Collectively they came to be referred to as the River Don Millowners Association.

The 'River Don Millowners Association' had no legal status or persona. The phrase was not used in any Act of Parliament nor in Parliamentary proceedings. It was simply a convenient expression to describe collectively, and in general parlance, those owners and occupiers of mills and works on four rivers (Upper Don, Lower Don, Loxley and Rivelin) who came together as associates or in association to protect the mutual interest which they had in the water of those rivers. The phrase “Associated millowners” was often used by the millowners themselves and frequently appears in Acts of Parliament affecting the rivers. When statutory meetings were convened, the term “Associated Millowners” was used.

On 16 Jun 1869, a general meeting of the 'owners, lessess and occupiers of mills and works on the Rivers Rivelin, Loxely and Dun' was held at the Cutlers Hall, Sheffield. The meeting was convened to consider and determine the quantity and supply of water required by the Associated Millowners under the terms of the Sheffield Water Works Act 1853 and the Sheffield Water (New Works) Act 1867. At the meeting, chaired by Samuel Butcher of Philadelphia Works, Sheffield, Charles Hutton Gregory was appointed 'engineer' to the Associated Millowners and Samuel Younge, solicitor (of the Sheffield firm Younge, Wilson and Pierson) was appointed 'clerk' to the Associated Millowners.

From 1870 onwards, meetings of the Committee of the Associated Millowners were usually held at the offices of Messrs Younge, Wilson and Pierson (later Younge, Wilson and Nixon), solicitors, 12 East Parade, Sheffield. General Meetings of members continued to be held at the Cutlers’ Hall. Herbert Hughes (1853 - 1917) of the firm Younge Wilson and Co., Solicitors, East Parade, Sheffield, was clerk to the River Dun Millowners from the 1880s until his death in 1917 when he was succeeded by Reginald Thorpe Wilson of the same firm (Younge Wilson & Co).

Following the passing of the Water Resources Act in 1963 which introduced a system of licensing for the abstraction of water from the nation’s rivers, the purpose of the Association became redundant. It was dormant for several years but in 1975 a new committee was formed, the Association’s remaining funds were invested and eventually used to support projects which celebrate the industrial heritage of the area. The story of the Association is told in the book 'Power and Philanthropy: the story of the River Don Millowners Association' by Anthony Swift (2017).
DescriptionMinutes, 1869 - 1956 (X777/1)
Schedules of Mills / Millowners and Occupiers,c. 1898 - 1931 (X777/2)
Correspondence Files, 1921 - 1938 (X777/3)
Miscellaneous, 1898 - 2017 (X777/4)
Date1869 - 2017
Extent21 items
RelatedMaterialRelated Material at Sheffield Archives:

Sheffield City Council, Legal and Administration Department: Millowners' Compensation under the Sheffield Corporation Waterworks Acts [papers relating to compensation paid to millowners on the River Rivelin, River Loxley and River Don by the Corporation for water not released from its reservoirs], 1897 - 1906 (CA569/1-9).

Sheffield City Council, Administration and Legal Department correspondence and papers relating to millowners on the River Don, 1906 - 1919 (Ref. CA584/1-7).

Copy of an agreement between the Corporation and Millowners of the River Loxley, River Rivelin, and River Dun [Don], as to supply of compensation water, 1910 (CA613/32).

Correspondence between the Corporation and the River Don Millowners regarding the Sheffield Corporation Bill, Dec 1916 - Sep 1917 (includes copy of bill) (CA620/12).

River Don Millowners Committee minutes, [1921 - 1960] (microfilm) (SY283).

Correspondence between the Town Clerk and various millowners, regarding the 1929-30 Sheffield Corporation Bill, Dec 1929 - Feb 1930 (CA629/35)
CustodialHistoryThese items was donated to Sheffield Archives in two instalments in Jun 2017 and Jun 2018 by a former solicitor who was (in effect) the final clerk to the Association prior to it winding up.
AcquisitionSourceThese items was donated to Sheffield Archives in two instalments in Jun 2017 and Jun 2018 by a former solicitor who was (in effect) the final clerk to the Association prior to it winding up.
ArchNoteCatalogue prepared by Tim Knebel, Jun 2017 (revised Jun 2018)
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