The Tan Mill, Olney

A water-powered mill in the historic county of Buckinghamshire, England.

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On the banks of the Great Ouse at Olney there is the site of a longstanding tannery. Prior to the 1890s the tanyard had been derelict for many years. But it was brought to life again in 1898 when new machinery, driven by a steam engine, was installed. Output grew, and in 1907 a 140 horsepower gas engine replaced the steam engine. When Stanley Freese visited the site the tannery was no longer operating. No information is available on its origins, but its location indicates that a water-driven tan mill would once have been used to beat the oak bark used in tanning with a cam-operated hammer. The earliest known references to the tannery are dated 1808 and 1821.

Full details

Power source Water
Mill type Watermill
River Great Ouse
Mill function
Archive ID 11760
Location Olney
Historic county Buckinghamshire
Country England, United Kingdom
NGR SP 889 508
Latitude/longitude 52.14919818, -0.69085133



  • Farley, Michael, Edward Legg and James Venn (Ed), The Watermills of Buckinghamshire: A 1930s account by Stanley Freese with original photographs (Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society, 2007)


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