“This valley, which seems to have been created by a bountiful providence, as one of the choicest retreats of man; which seems formed for a scene of innocence and happiness, has been, by ungrateful man, so perverted as to make it instrumental in effecting…the most damnable of purposes” – William Cobbett, Dorking 30 November 1822, Rural Rides (1830)

Prof Crocker modeling his self-made paper hat

Prof Crocker modeling his self-made paper hat

The Tillingbourne Valley has long stood-out as a major industrial centre, originating in the medieval cloth trade and later evolving into other forms of manufacture. From the early middle ages, when the river was lined with corn and fulling mills, to the water-wheel’s expanded use in the 16th and 17th centuries, driving trip-hammers for iron, brass and wire and powering wheels for the making of gunpowder and paper, the Tillingbourne has a long history of human ingenuity and engineering.

Learn about the industrial history of the Tillingbourne Valley, which supported at least 12 different industries throughout its known centuries of exploitation: corn production, fulling, gunpowder manufacturing, paper and bank note-making, wire-making, wood-milling, pumping, leather manufacturing, blacksmithing, copper-beating, weaving – many of which survived into the modern day.

[This page is currently in the process of being updated]