Page updated 25 June 2009
Situated in West Street, Surridge's Mill as it was named for much of the 19th century, dates from 1688, when there were six fulling mills on the site; it continued as a fulling mill until the late 18th Century, when the woollen trade collapsed, leaving unemployed woollen workers and silent machinery.
Mr John Surridge, the miller from the mid-nineteenth century, was involved in arbitration with Mr Upright of the City Mill in 1859 and 1862, when he maintained that he was allowed three fourths of the water flow in the leat. His mill had originally three wheels, which he replaced with one large one, and which he alleged, Mr Upright was robbing him of water. The two millers were again in court during 1867, regarding trespass, through rebuilding works, and the placing of a smut machine that caused a nuisance. Relations between Surridge and Upright were not good.
The riots of November 5 1867 hit Surridge, when it was reported that the shop front and shutters of the mill were smashed and "the contents of the shop pitched into the street" (FP) with Surridge later putting in a claim for £20, for damages and losses.
The mill was also mentioned in 1879 when the body of a 15 month old boy was found in the grate of the leat beneath the mill; this was a not uncommon occurrence, and there are dozens of reports of bodies fished from leats in Exeter during the 19th century.
John Surridge was a prominent councillor through the latter part of the century for Trinity Ward, and was involved in many of the discussions regarding sewage disposal, especially regarding the pollution of the leats.
Sources are listed in the mills menu page.
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