Flint Mill

The River Kelvin has its source in the Kilsyth Hills at the village of Kelvinhead. The first 13 miles are quite sluggish, but once it reaches Maryhill the river becomes faster flowing, which is the reason that industry was at the lower reaches of the Kelvin.  Various mills sprang up along the banks  in the early days, though the only remaining vestige of these is the ruins of the Flint Mill, now made a feature of the Kelvin Walkway.

The mill replaced an earlier one on the site, which was a ruin c1845 when painted by William Simpson It was rebuilt c1850 for the Vereville and Britannia Potteries to provide ground flint for the glazing on their pottery.

Painting by Wm Simpson c1840, Image courtesy of Mitchell Library
Painting by Wm Simpson c1840, Image courtesy of Mitchell Library

Ground flint from the mill was also sent to Elderslie for Shanks sanitaryware.  The flint was brought over from France, probably arriving at Port Dundas ,and from the canal being transported to the mill. There it was fired in the kiln and during this process it changed colour from grey to white, making it suitable for sanitaryware and other kinds of ceramics. The type of grinding done on the site was known as “wet grinding” as it was safer for workers and helped prevent the dry particles lodging in their lungs – similar to asbestosis.

The mill ground flint until c1963 and the ruins have been incorporated into the plans when the River Kelvin Walkway  was being designed in the 1970‘s.  At that time the top of the original kiln was removed due to safety concerns, and the millstones were brought in from another site by the Parks department.  The present lade is really just for ornamental purposes as the original would have been much deeper in order to provide the power for working the mill.  It would also have been fenced in for safety reasons.

An information board with more details and pictures has been provided by the Parks Dept at the site near to the Belmont St bridge.