Heritage Trail Board 1 – The industrial history of the village

Oakamoor has been an industrial centre for nearly 1000 years. It is located close to many of the resources necessary for early heavy industry: ironstone at Consall, copper at Ecton, coal outcropping in the woods to the west, limestone a mile to the east, a forest of oak and beech trees all around and has the power of the River Churnet which was used to drive heavy machinery.

Iron production in the area dates back to 1290 – the time of the Crusades.

During the 1730’s, 150,000 tons of ironstone were produced each year in the Churnet Valley.

The “Iron Valley” had ceased production by 1790, five centuries after it had first began. However, Oakamoor was not to fall silent as the copper age was to begin and the site was bought by Thomas Patten, owner of the Cheadle Copper and Brass works.

At that time, water was used to power the machinery and watermills were located just to the north of this board, using water from the Churnet. The scale of the works, together with a photograph from 1906, is shown on the board. The lozenge shaped stone marked “TP & C” situated close to this board was placed on the wall of a rolling mill that was erected on this site in 1804 by Thomas Patten and Company.