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HB New Mills by kind permission of Howard Beard
What: Historic mills site
Where: GL5 1RN  South side of Slad Road, down Libby's Drive
Then: Built as a cloth mill and dwelling house in 1766
Now: Pats of the house and mill buildings still stand.  The site is now occupied by a number of small businesses and residential property.

New Mills is a late example from 1766, of a prosperous millowner building a new house and mill on the same site. Thomas Baylis wanted to make a grand architectural show, and constructed an E-shaped building with a central two-storey octagonal hall dividing the mill building in one end, from his house in the other. As first built, the building looked like a large and elegant country house.

In 1812, following the bankruptcy of Daniel Baylis, the house and mill were sold to Robert and William Helme, who extended the house side in 1833. The property passed to John Libby, a cloth merchant, in 1862, but the ownership of the complex was later divided. The house side was still intact and elegantly fitted up in 1912, but had been largely demolished in 1936.

Half of the northern mill building survives as a two-storey L-shaped range with a battlemented parapet, as does the three-sided central feature. The building is, however, mutilated by later additions.

The land associated with the property has been developed for other uses. The Gloucester Model Laundry Ltd. was built on part of the site in 1910, and in 1929, Stroud Tennis Club acquired most of the rest. They laid out six courts and a half-size practice court was cut into the hill. In the 1930s, their annual August tournament attracted many star players.

In 1921, Samuel Spicer bought the land below Libby's Drive and had the old fish pond there filled in. As a result, hundreds of yellow frogs swarmed onto Slad Road.

During the war, the tennis courts were requisitioned by the Fire Brigade and later the Admiralty. In 1952, B.J. Bown bought the site and two years later a wholesale warehouse and garage was built. The warehouse closed in the 1980s and the whole site is now occupied by a variety of small businesses.

Revised 2018 EMW

From January 2016, this website is managed by Stroud Local History Society