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In Search of James Watt

  • Mercure Wolverhampton Goldthorn Hotel 126 Penn Road Wolverhampton, WV3 )ER United Kingdom (map)
Historic England Archive ref: 469917. March 2006 © Mr Peter Sargeant.

Historic England Archive ref: 469917. March 2006 © Mr Peter Sargeant.

In search of James Watt: the 1785 Chester Steam Mill Archaeological investigation


The world’s first successful public steam driven flour mill was at Chester in 1785, only three years after Watt’s rotative engines patent and three years before the famous Watt Lap beam engine on display in the London Science Museum.. The flour mill was powered by a 14HP Watt rotative beam engine and has been overshadowed in the steam history books by the larger Albion Mill (also a flour mill) in London. The Chester Mill expanded into a large complex of four and five storey buildings and eventually became disused in the 1950s. In 2002 an opportunity for arachaeological investigation and recording occurred when the remaining buildings were converted into apartments. The base of the original Watt 1785 engine house was discovered intact.

Speaker Chris Hodrien was involved in the project as historic engines consultant, including research in the extensive Boulton & Watt Soho archive at the Library of Birmingham. Extracts from the original letters and design drawings for the engine and mill will be shown.

Cost: Free if attending lecture only, including lunch £10/£12 (non members)

To book a place, please contact Mr. A. Myatt -, If requiring lunch, bookings must be made by 8th May.

This event is organised by the Institute for Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (West Midland Branch)

Earlier Event: April 27
Watt's Wanderings