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Blackhall Mill

A Neolithic or early bronze age stone axe-hammer was found in the early 1930s during house-building just to the north-east of the bridge.

In the early eighteenth century, Blackhall Mill changed from a mainly rural estate to a steel making village.

The Bertram family operated a steel forge from the early 1700s. It was visited in 1719 and 1754 by Swedish engineers. Both Kalmeter in 1719 and Angerstein in 1754 visited the papermill which was operated by the same millrace as the forge. Angerstein, on his visit in 1754 was studying new methods of industrial technology. At that time, conversion of iron into steel took eighteen days, with most of the time taken by cooling. Profit was sixteen per cent. There is reference to a smelt mill at Blackhall Mill in an indenture of 1773, and Mr. William Bertram of Ryton parish was owner or part owner of the sword factory at Blackhall Mill at the same period. The Blackhall Mill steel forge (later the site of the council school) used power from a dam across the Derwent near Beechgrove Terrace.

The village in 1925
A description of Blackhall Mill in 1925 includes the following information:

Blackhall Mill is a hamlet situated on the north bank of the River Derwent, one mile south of Chopwell.

A Primary school (Public Elementary Mixed and Infants) was built in 1916.

A stone and iron bridge was built in 1896. It spanned the Derwent at Blackhall Mill, linking the parishes of Medomsley and Winlaton. The costs of bridge building were met by the Rural District Councils of Lanchester and Blaydon, plus public subscription.

Residents in 1925 included five shopkeepers, three farmers, one carpenter, two milliners, two grocers, two butchers, one undertaker, one boot and shoe dealer, one wine and spirit merchant, one draper, one hairdresser and one confectioner.

Entertainment included a Social Club, a picture hall, refreshment rooms and two public houses, both run by the same publican.

Early bridges at Blackhall Mill were frequently washed away by floodwater.

Even when Chopwell colliery was built building materials were taken across the river by ford.

Building of the new bridge was carried out by William Hilton of Witton-le-Wear. Commenced in September 1895, the bridge was opened on 13th May 1896 by William Logan, chairman of Lanchester Council.





Bill Quay


Blackhall Mill




High Spen



A History of Low Fell
A History of Low Fell
A Four part series By M. Hope Dodds

Gateshead Central Library
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