Tyne and Wear HER(4137): Jesmond, Busy Cottage Corn Mill - Details
Jesmond, Busy Cottage Corn Mill
This is not named as a corn mill on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Plan, so was probably out of use by 1895. This was a Corn mill with a forge, owned by Rayne and Burn. However, prior to this it was the site of an ironworks. Whitehead's Directory of 1790 lists Thomas Menham, Iron and Brass Foundry, Busy Cottage. In June 1790 Thomas Menham died so in June of that year the Newcastle Weekly Chronicle printed this advertisement - "Busy Cottage Forge and Foundry to be sold to the highest bidder…. There is a good dwelling house, brew house, cold bath, several houses for workmen and a garden well planted with fruit trees…". A second auction sold household furniture, 4 horses, a sow and pigs, sundry garden utensils and the use of the garden until November next. Mitchell's Directory of 1801 mentions Sorsbie at Busy Cottage (a family from Sheffield with a background of working with iron). Pigot's Directory of 1811 lists Malin Sorsbie, ironfounder, Busy Cottage. The works were described by Baillie in his 'Impartial History of Newcastle' as "a large manufactory of cast and hammered iron, the property of Mr. Malin Sorsbie". Between 1824 and 1842 it was run by Robert Rayne and David Burn, who had set up New Busy Cottage works nearer the Tyne in Ouse Street, and seem to have progressed from making small articles of iron to that of wagons for the colliery lines. In 1842 the lease was surrendered back to Sir Matthew White Ridley and by 1855 the ironwork buildings were converted to a corn mill. There is a Directory entry in 1855 for "R. Davidson, corn miller, Busy Cottage" and he was followed by J. Davidson in 1858 and J. James in 1861 after which entries cease. In 1858 two workers' cottages were built, which are probably the Busy Cottages we see today. The mill was shown as a flint mill on Ordnance Survey plans up to 1878. When Lord Armstrong made Jesmond Dene into a park, the mill ceased to work. The leat and weir are still visible, as are fragments of slag in the river.
<< HER 4137 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1864, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 97 I.M. Ayris, & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p.58 I.M. Ayris, & D.Bolland, Ouseburn Heritage, p.31 The Friends of Jesmond Dene, 1990, Busy Cottage Ironworks, Jesmond Dene, Newsletter No. 27, September 1990