Thwaite Mills is one of the last remaining examples in Britain of a water-powered mill and our knowledgeable guides give visitors a fantastic tour of the mill and the island on which it sits.
Nestled on an island, Thwaite Mills is situated in beautiful riverside surroundings. The island is a rich wildlife habitat with areas of water, woodland, scrub and gardens attracting many species. Although only two miles from Leeds City Centre, at Thwaite Mills visitors can enjoy peaceful walks on beautiful paths alongside the Aire and Calder river, take advantage of waterside picnic areas, and enjoy a unique piece of Yorkshire’s industrial heritage.
Step back in time inside Thwaite House, a fine Georgian Grade II listed building. Learn how workers from the cottages at ‘Dandy Row’ lived self-sufficiently on the island.
Thwaite House is a fine Georgian home which was built in 1823 on the foundations of a much earlier house. It is now a Grade 2 listed building and preserves many original features of houses from this period.
Thwaite House has always been the mill managers’ house. Several generations of the Horn family have lived on ‘the Island’ since 1872, but by the 1950’s the house had become virtually derelict and was used only for office work.
Thwaite House has now been restored to its former glory, and is used for displays and exhibitions to show what life was like living on the Island and working at the mill in the 1940s without electricity or modern appliances as we know them!
Visit the engineer’s workshop to see the equipment that repaired the wheels and machinery on site.
Over the years Thwaite has been a major production site for a range of products like rape oil (sold for lubrication and lighting), crushed wood (to produce colour in dyes), Whiting (used for whitewash, putty, polish, pharmaceuticals, and even food products) and finally putty up and until 1976.
Experience water powered industry in action! Feel the force of water power and how solid rock can be turned into paint and putty.
The Horns worked Thwaite Mills as a water-powered mill up until 1976. By this time, their main line of business was putty manufacture. In 1975, disaster struck. The weir collapsed in a flood. The waterwheels could no longer work, and the Horns were forced to call it a day.
Thwaite Mills is a working watermill today and you can experience the wheels in motion on a tour of the Museum Unfortunately, we are still prone to the odd flood or two so check ahead of your visit in the rainy season.
Did you know you can moor your canal boat here?
We have moorings available for visitors to the museum as well as leisure moorings for longer stays. Please contact the museum for more information and to book in advance.