Instant coffee and the Kaiser’s pants: the Nidderdale village with a colourful past

For such a small place, Shaw Mills has some unusual claims to fame. Silk spun at High Mill was used to make underwear for Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany – until the First World War intervened.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:18 am
3 Millbank Terrace, Shaw Mills - £220,000 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 877200. PHOTO: Omar Khan.

The same site is thought to have seen the manufacture of the world’s first instant coffee, called “Bantam”, from 1931. (It was advertised as “Little but strong. Made in the cup – in a moment!”.)

Shaw Mills lost its industry long ago and is now simply a compact and very pretty village, on a kink in Thornton Beck – which joins the River Nidd south of Ripley – just outside the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Tucked away in a peaceful location on a horseshoe-bend in the road between Bishop Thornton to the north and Burnt Yates to the south, it is eight miles from Ripon, six from Harrogate and two-and-a-half miles upstream from Ripley.

Christmas Cottage, 2 High Mill, Shaw Mills - £249,950 with Myrings, 01423 566400.

It is also one of the first waymarkers along the 53-mile Nidderdale Way walking route, which winds in and out of the dale’s side-valleys, and attracts hundreds of visitors to the dale every year.

Shaw Mills has lost its traditional amenities, but post office services are just a mile-and-a-half away at Birstwith and Hampsthwaite, and the nearest church and pub are just a mile down the road at Burnt Yates. The nearest primary school is Bishop Thornton CE Primary School.

Weekday bus services run to secondary schools in Harrogate and Pateley Bridge, the number 23 runs to Harrogate once a week, and there is a weekly bus service up Nidderdale in the summer.

If this sounds like the kind of place you could put down roots in, one of the following properties may be for you.

17 Grange Close, Shaw Mills - £175,000 with Verity Frearson, 01423 562531.

Christmas Cottage is a former mill-workers’ cottage in a quiet position down a private lane on the edge of the village. Originally a traditional two-up-two-down, it now has three bedrooms, the largest of which occupies the converted attic on the second floor and has plenty of eaves storage space. There’s also a house bathroom and downstairs is a lounge with log-burning stove opening via double doors onto the kitchen, which has a beamed ceiling. To the front is a small patio garden, and to the rear is a very private and enclosed flagged patio courtyard seating area.

On the other side of the village, 3 Millbank Terrace is another mid-terrace mill-workers’ cottage, with two bedrooms, a bathroom, dining kitchen and living room.

As at Christmas Cottage, neighbouring householders have converted the attic to create an extra bedroom, and that could likely be done here too, subject to planning consent.

Outside, there are flagged seating areas to the front and enclosed landscaped gardens to the rear.

It should be mentioned that unlike many other similar cottages, these two properties have hallways, so avoiding the chilling effect a door can have when opened straight from a sitting room.

Finally, between these properties is 17 Grange Close, a modern mid-terrace house with far-reaching countryside views to the back and front.

It has three bedrooms, bathroom, open-plan sitting/dining room, kitchen with adjoining conservatory, a drive to the front and a garden to the rear.