Irby Mill cottage was built just opposite where the second mill used to stand sometime during the
early 19th century. Over the years the cottage was extended and refurbished many times. The
cottage (a two-storey building) had a single-storey extension on the south end and a small
single-storey structure on the north end. A postcard written in 1907 shows that it was then open for
the sale of teas, etc. The cottage was bought in 1919 by George and Bertha Lumsden who opened
it as "The Old Mill Café" in 1924. (Even today, the place is still known to many local people as
Sometime after 1924 the following changes were made. The old single-storey extensions were
removed and a new single-storey extension was built onto the south end of the building. This
extension was aligned east-west and formed a "T" shaped end to the building. The extension was
used as a dance hall and the proprietor's daughter gave dancing lessons. The garden wall was
removed and the post box relocated to the wall of the dance hall extension. The chimney stack in
the centre of the roof was replaced with a model of a windmill as a reminder of the original mill.
During the 1930s, diamond shaped windows were added to the north wall on the upper floor. In
1938 Higsons brewery bought the building from the Lumsdens. Higsons rented out the building
intermittently and it remained as a café until the mid 1960s. The brewery made repeated
development applications (starting in 1938) to the authorities. Planning rejections and various
drawbacks prevailed until a rejection was successfully appealed in 1979. The major structural
changes were the demolition of the dance hall extension and its replacement with a two-storey
extension that followed the alignment of the original building and was built of matching sandstone
Prior to, and during, the building work, archaeological investigations were made. It was found that
the north end of the building had once been a separate dwelling with its own front door onto Mill
Lane. The garden wall was rebuilt and the original post box, with its Edward VII motif, was once
again installed into that wall. The business opened as Irby Mill public house in September 1980.
The fireplace at the north end of the building is, confusingly, inscribed 1780-1980. This displays the
anniversary of Higsons brewery, not the anniversary of the building. A small stained-glass window
in the north wall looks historic, but actually displays the Higsons logo.
The pub sign hanging near the front door displays a fan-tail windmill, not the tail-beam type which
had actually been on this site. In 1994, planning permission was granted for an extension to the
west face at the southern part of the building. This was built for storage purposes. Shortly
afterwards, the porch at the Mill Lane entrance was added. This leaves us with what we see
today... The Irby Mill public House
Irby has always been closely associated with mills. A reference to the existence of a mill at Irby was
made in a rental agreement of 1431, whereby tenants were expected to "...Grind at Irby Mill to the
16th measure." This referred to the miller receiving this amount in flour as a toll. This original wooden
structure was replaced by a post mill in the early 17th century. When demolished in 1898, after being
disused for over a decade and in a very dilapidated condition, it was the last post mill of its kind on the
Wirral. The Irby Mill public house, which opened for business in 1980, stands adjacent to the site in a
building formerly known as 'Irby Mill Cottage'
We now know that there have been 2 mills on Irby Hill. The first and significantly oldest was situated
300 feet South of The Irby Mill Public House. We know from historical sources that the mill was in
operation around 1291ad. At this time wind powered mills were extremely primitive in design. It has
been suggested that the Crusaders introduced windmills to Britain in the 12th century. Three positive
historical references from the 1180’s mark the beginning of the windmill’s popularity in England. It was
quickly adopted; an estimated total of 4000 windmills existed in England by the turn of the fifteenth
century. The early mills would have been post windmills that were built directly onto man-made
mounds. None of the very early structures exist, although there are many mounds throughout the
country, some which have had later mills built on them. We known that the first mill was destroyed
during the 18th century most likely having fallen into dilapidation.
The second mill - is believed to have been built around 1720 and was situated adjacent to the present
pub, north of Hillbark Road. This has been regarded as a strange location as the mill would not be
exposed to southerly winds due to it being protected by the hill. The design was known as "post-mill"
or "peg-mill". The upper part (the working part) was made of timber and sat on a stone base called
the roundhouse. The timber body had a tail-beam projecting at the rear; at the end of the tail-beam
was a wheel, which ran on a circular track. When the wind direction changed, the miller would push
the tail-beam, thus rotating the timber body until the sails faced into the new wind. It is believed that
this mill stopped working around 1878. It was demolished in 1898.