1802 - The Block Mills

14th April. Admiralty ordered the Navy Board to proceed with the construction of the Wood Mill to Benthams design at an estimated cost of £8,827. This was the first steam-powered Wood Mill in the World. This building eventually became the Block Mills the first steam powered factory in the World and the first to use all metal machinery for mass production of ships blocks. The machinery was designed by Marc Brunel (father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel) and Sir Samuel Bentham (see 1801 & 1806). Some of this machinery still exists in working order. The architect of the building was Samuel Bunce.

15th April. Sir Samuel Bentham officially recommends the adoption of the Marc Brunel’s shaping machine as part of the system of machinery already provided or which it may be advisable to erect in the Dockyard, for the manufacture of ship’s blocks.