Conisbrough & Denaby Main

Heritage Group


Between 1821 and 1825 John and Thomas Mullins of Birley Hey moved thier machinery from Skelfer Forge in the Ford Valley to the Conisbrough Mills where they carried on for some twenty years, after which the partnership broke up on account of a quarrel and one of the Mullins went to America.   The Mullins were succeeded by William Linley who in 1849 and 1852 is described as a manufacturer of scythes, sickles and hooks at Conisbrough Mills.  In 1849 Thomas Booth is described as Manager at Conisbrough Mills and in 1852 as a Corn Factor and Miller, living at Ferry Farm.  

In 1861 Thomas Booth & Sons (Thomas & George) were carrying on at Conisbrough Mills as Timber and Coal Merchants, Woodturners and Manufacturers of brushwork, cask staves, hooks and sickles.  

In 1869 Thomas Booth senior died and the business was split between his sons: Thomas Booth junior carrying on as Woodturner, Brush Manufacturer, Timber Merchant and Coal Dealer at the old Mills and George Booth & Sons carrying on as Hook, Sickle and Machine Knife manufacturers at the Conisbrough Steam Mills.  In 1898 Thomas Booth was still carrying on as Timber Merchant, Brush Head Manufacturer Wood Turner and Pleasure Boat proprietor but in place of George Booth & Sons, Rawding, Blackburn & Rawding were trading as Sickle Manufacturers at Burcroft although the Company kept the name of George Booth & sons.  

In the 1950s the business was acquired by Thomas Staniforth & Sons of Hackenthorpe which in 1967 became part of Spear & Jackson.  In 1976 the business was closed down.  

Piece Work Rates

Men on the sharpening wheels, Mr Rawding at back

Jim Brewster shaping a sickle

Sickle workers listening to the radio ‘Down Your Way’

Sickle girls at the river

More girls in the 30’s

Tea Break

Sickle Works

6th December 1841

To be sold by private Contract.  Conisbro Mills on a fall of the river Don about midway between Sheffield and Doncaster and in the vicinity of extensive coal fields.  With warehouses, counting house and Dwelling Houses now in the possession of Messrs Mullins, Scythe, Sickle and Edge Tool Manufacturers together with working tools and machinery consisting of two hammers for skelping and plating scythes and reaping hooks, etc.  One hammer for making scrap iron with suitable furnaces and rolling machinery thereto and scythe and edge tool grinding troughs.  Also a Wharf for the landing and sale of coal and a crane and wharf for the landing and shipping of stone , wood and other merchandise.  Also about an acre of Freehold land and eleven Edge Tool and Scythe Smiths' Workshops completely fitted up.   With warehouse, stable and two dwelling houses with large and well stocked gardens.  The premises are well adapted to the carrying on of the Iron and Steel trade or any other business requiring considerable and constant water power.  Messrs Mullins will show the premises and furnish all further particulars.

York Herald     30th May 1857                                                                                      

On Thursday Morning at the early hour of one o clock an attempt was made to blow up the Sickle Manufactory of Messrs Booth & Son formerly the 'Boring Mills' adjoining the river weir.  A quantity of gunpowder having been placed by some miscreants in the drum of a machine in the interior of the building for the purpose of blowing up the place.  The powder was contained in a canvas bag and with it was connected a long fuse passing through the adjoining premises (lately occupied by Mr Lindley) a distance of at least ten yards.  The fuse passed under the door of Mr Lindley's place and it seems the train was fired at or near the spot.  The intended purpose was, however, a complete failure and the damage beyond the injury of a few straps passing over the drum was confined to the roof, the tiles of which were all displaced and many fell into the workshop below.  Immediate alarm was given and Mr Superintendant Astwood proceeded to the spot and made a minute examination of the place.  Policeman Kershaw of Conisbrough followed soon after and in the forenoon he apprehended Messrs Booths Watchman a man named Richard Swallow on suspicion of being concerned in the affair. The damage is supposed to be from thirty to forty pounds but as a consequence of the debris in the machinery it is impossible at present to exactly estimate the correct sum.  This is the second attempt that has been made to damage Messrs Booth.  In November 1855 a bottle containing explosive powder was thrown into the bed chamber in which Mr & Mrs Booth slept and although the house was shaken to its foundation no one was killed.  

18th January 1875

Violent attack on Mr Booth of the Sickle Works

At the West Riding Police Court  Doncaster, on Saturday Robert Wharmsley and Joseph Wattam two colliers belonging to Conisbrough were charged with committing a violent assault on Mr George Booth of Conisbrough on the 11th January.  The complainant (Mr Booth) was suffering from very serious injuries and was in an extremely doubtful and critical position.   In reply to the Bench it was stated that the case could end up as a case of Murder.   Evidence was then tendered that whilst at the Castle Inn Whattam acted indecently to the servant, the landlady interfered and was threatened.  Then Mr Booth interfered and upon going to the door was met by Whattam and Wharmsley, one of them threw a boulder and knocked Mr Booth to the ground, a scrimmage next ensued between Mr Booths friends and the two miners friends.   The two miners were remanded for a week and refused bail.

16th October 1877

Letters Patent:  George Booth  - Improvements in the Manufacture of Scythes

11th June 1881

Partnership Dissolved

George Booth & Son Conisbrough, Sickle Manufacturers.

4th July 1893

Theft of a cheque from Mr Thomas Booth Sickle manufacturer

This morning at Doncaster, Morris Henry Booth of Conisbrough was charged with stealing a cheque worth £18 6s. 5d. from his father's bedroom on Monday.  Mr Thomas Booth Sickle Manufacturer said that he had left a cheque in his bedroom under a box on a chest of drawers.   He went out and locked the bedroom door leaving the key in the door.  His son had no permission to take the cheque.   Mary Martin wife of Mr Martin said the prisoner handed her the cheque and asked her to cash it.   He said his father wanted it cashing but he was away from home.  The witness pointed out that the cheque was not signed by his father on the back and the prisoner wrote his own name so Mrs Martin cashed the cheque.             Bail was granted at £20.

Booths House

Maurice Brewster

Packing sickles

Rawdon Brothers & staff


Dot Faulkner, Doris Carmody, Ruby Seddons, Reny Hardy & Dot Symes

Works trip to seaside (Blackpool?)