There were six mills in the village at one time. Harry and Sarah Savage lived at Low Mill which is down the lane (known as Todd’s row) beside the river. Low mill was built in 1854 and was a pumping station-water supply for Penrith opened by the Penrith Local Board of Health. Water was drained from the Eamont half a mile upstream on the Skirsgill Estate (the intake pipe is in the river bed on the Cumberland side) 800 yards to a settling well at Low Mill Island. From there it was pumped by a water wheel supplemented by steam power to Low Reservoir at Carleton Road. The high reservoir is under Beacon wood adjoining Lynwood. The mill has also been a corn mill and a snuff mill in the past.
Mrs Savage and her grandson Geoff outside Low Mill
Low Mill was totally redeveloped by Mr and Mrs Brian Williams, the original house was demolished and a new large house built on the opposite side of the driveway. Part of the original wall of the mill is incorporated in the boundary and the mill-race is still visible.
Low mill after redevelopment
High Mill was a snuff mill from 1835 it had previously been a corn mill then a gunpowder mill , it was later bought by Mr Ware who raised pigs on the land. More recently the surrounding land was used as a residential caravan site, as shown in this photo. It has since been totally redeveloped with several new houses in its grounds.
There was originally a weir at high mill which has now been removed.
Beside the old snuff mill in Skirsgill lane was a shallow pool in the river Eamont that was popular with the local children. On 16th January 1937 the century old mill closed. For many years it was owned by the Nevison family before being sold to a Kendal firm.
Bleach Green —was used for bleaching cotton as the name suggests,it is now called Bleach Mill. Originally known as Walk mill (Londsdales map of 1843) the walking process was used in woollen cloth making, originally the workers used to walk the wool barefoot in urine to clean the wool. A walker was a fuller of cloth–hence the use of fullers earth as a cleaner for wool as time went on.
Southwaite Green was a corn mill owned by William Bardgett and was the last of the mills to cease working in the 1950’s.
There were two mills on the Lowther river, one was a poke or poak mill (probably meaning meal bag — a poker is a carrier who delivers the meal from a mill) this is now lost as the river was altered when the motorway was built but there is a grid reference for it (83-525276) –it was recorded that John Carruthers was a corn miller there until 1829 and it was still on the tithe map in 1843. On the ordnance survey map of 1861 it was marked as a corn mill however by the time of the O.S. map of 1899 the mill had been demolished.The other mill was a bobbin mill a building with its own leat shown on the enclosure map of 1818 and on the tithe map of 1843 it too had been demolished by the time of the 1899 O.S. map.