November 03, 2016

04/11/2016: The 1888 Plymouth Milling Convention part 2

by Mildred Cookson

My introduction last month to nabim's Plymouth Milling Convention of 1888 was based on an extended article in The Miller of 2 July 1888, which covered intended trips to mills in Devon.

Mildred Cookson

Also on the tour were planned visits to Cornish mills, which will have excited considerable interest. These conventions and exhibitions in the late Victorian period enabled the milling profession to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and milling practice.

As is still the case, such a convention in the "West Country" would include significant social events in one of England's premier holiday regions. It was probably no coincidence that 1888 was the year when the Great Western Railway achieved its ambition to move into Cornwall, having only arrived in Plymouth in 1876.

Mills on the Cornish itinerary focused on Hayle, two of which are described below. Other mills of particular interest were those of Messrs John Lake & Sons in Truro (Robinson System) and Mr T Hitchins’ Grenance Mill in St Austell (Childs’ System).

Messrs Hosken & Son’s Loggans Mill in Hayle was promised to be one of the more interesting mills to visit. It was a substantial five storied stone building fitted with a roller plant by J Harrison Carter of 82 Mark Lane London.

The mill had just installed a system of pneumatic sorting which had been recently patented. The mill had a capacity of 10 sacks/hour; the only motive power mentioned was a horizontal compound condensing engine, disappointingly no details were given of the waterwheel which was still operating.
Mr Hosken and Sons Roller Mill, Hayle

Many centuries of history
The history of the mill goes back many centuries, with several mills, built on the site. The present building, dated 1852, had been gradually growing since 1827 when Mr William Hosken, the head of the existing firm, took over "Loggans” mill.

He had inherited it from his father, the family inheritance dating back to 1800. As with many local mills, ironwork such as waterwheels would come from local foundries. Bodley foundry in Exeter was such a foundry and one of our drawings shows their design dated 1894 for an 11ft 6in diameter undershot wheel with 30 floats.

Wheat was transported from Hayle’s wharves to the mill and the finished produce was conveyed to the railway station by traction engine.

Another feature of the mill was that it was by then largely independent of millwrights and engineers, as they had established workshops in which they could cast, if necessary, their own brasses.

The wheat bins were all ventilated by perforated zinc plates which let in on each side to allow fresh air to play upon the grain, keeping it much sweeter. On each floor in addition to the customary range of fire buckets, was a "Merryweather Fire Queen" hand engine which all of the staff had been carefully trained to use.

The wheat cleaning department was separated from the mill by iron doors and was fitted out with a Barnard & Leas’ separator, two cockle cylinders and a ‘Eureka’ smutter along with a ‘Victor’ brush.

Read the full article HERE.

The Global Miller
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