The site also included the Norton
family’s house, a yard, and two large gardens. In the
1820s, on the
opposite side of Corn Hill, on the site now occupied by
the sack warehouse, was Danks & Company's Wharf. In the
early 1840s it was used by coal merchant
In the 1790s and early 1800s wheat
was in short supply due to a series of bad harvests in
most of Europe. Bread was an important part of the diet,
and prices rocketed due to the shortage of flour. As a
result many of the poorer people could not afford to buy
bread. It seems that Joseph Norton decided to do what he
could to help them out. The National Library of
Australia has a copy of an advertisement dated 29th
January, 1800 which advertises the facilities offered by
the mill, and states that 'a consignment of rice
purchased by the proprietor is to be sold in small
quantities to the poor'.
In 1851 the mill had two steam engines, one of which
was installed in 1845. So during the early years the
mill must have been powered by a single engine.
On 14th January, 1846
the Wolverhampton Chronicle included the following
"…we have the
pleasure to record an entertainment given by the Messrs’
Norton to their workmen and others, on the occasion of
the completion of their new engine, by Mr. Fairbairn of
Manchester. We wish such meetings were of more frequent
occurrence; as, while they promote mutual good feeling,
they at the same time create in the employed an interest
in the success of the employer conducive to the
advancement of the interest of each. The repast now
noticed took place in the mill, and the liberality of
Messrs. Norton was so amply evinced as fully to confirm
their reputation of doing whatever they undertake in the
best possible style."
The building on the southern side
of Corn Hill, opposite the mill was the sack warehouse.
It’s the oldest surviving building on the site, and was
used as a warehouse for sacks of unprocessed and
processed grain. The building is not shown on the 1842
Tithe map, but is marked on a map from 1852.
In Kelly’s 1842 Directory of
Staffordshire it suggests that part of the business was
gambled away by a family member in the gaming rooms at
St. James Club in London.
In 1849 to 1850 when the railway
was being built from Birmingham to Wolverhampton, the
canal was diverted, and the railway acquired the land
containing the Norton family's two large gardens, on the
northern side of the site. The line of the original canal
that ran along the eastern side of the site was
filled-in, except for the first 100 yards or so which
remained as a basin serving the mill.