Paper Mill End
B44 - Grid reference SP067933
The name Paper Mill End was applied to a district which was centred on the junction of Aldridge Road and Greenholm Road; this district was one of the tax yields of the civil parish of St Mary's Handsworth.
Garrett's Mill was recorded grinding blades in 1597 and stood at Garretts Moor near the head of the valley of the Hol Brook. Garrett is clearly a family name, while a moor is an area of marshy ground along a river valley. The mill was described as being at Grindleford, grindle being a late-medieval term for a narrow ditch or drain. Here it may refer to the mill leat.
However, in 1648 the mill was documented as 'lately made by Humphrey Wyrley', a member of a prominent landowning family in the area. It must have been rebuilt perhaps specifically to manufacture paper, and is the first known paper mill in Birmingham.
The paper business was a precarious one, but here it must have have been successful here, for in 1680 Samuel Jerrom is recorded as leasing from Sir John Wyrley two paper mills on nearby Perry Wood Brook. Another mill, the subject of litigation in 1794, was powered by a leat fed by Barr Brook. This had been a blade mill and a paper mill but was at the time of the dispute used for boring gun-barrels. By 1814 the mill was drawing wire, but only four years later it was again run by a paper dealer, John Benson. In 1839 the paper mill owned by Joseph Webster and known as Webster's Mill, was tenanted by William Brindley.
All of these mills here had gone by 1880, including Paper Mill itself, although traces of its dry millpool could still be made out a century later. These were destroyed when Vicarage Close was laid out south of Beeches Road c1980. A streetname now commemorates the mill. And a modern industrial estate south-west of the junction of Thornbridge Road and Aldridge Road is called Paper Mill End.
See Lozells for Hutton's Mill.
William Dargue 17.03.09
For 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of Birmingham go to British History Online - Maps.