June 07, 2017

07/06/2017: Mildred Cookson - Roller flourmill buildings in London continued

Joseph Rank's Premier Flour Mills, Victoria Dock, London
 In my previous article, I introduced mills owned by Seth Taylor and JH Robinson based in what is now referred to as London's Dockland. A little further up the Thames there were a series of mills on the Embankment in the region of the Albert and Battersea bridges. Visits to these mills were organised as part of nabim's London Convention in 1887, as reported in The Miller on June 6th. 

 The first of this group mentioned in the report was the Albert Bridge Flour Mills at Battersea. Built for Messrs. Marriage, Neave & Co, they were built on the south bank of the Thames between the Albert and Battersea bridges. They opened for work on 9th July 1884. The building was divided into three main portions, but in reality seven independent sections, separated by fireproof walls.

 It was built in the Queen Anne style and with its octagonal tower it had quite a baronial appearance.

 The architect responsible for this building was Mr F Bath, ARIBA, FSI of London and Salisbury.
As well as designing a most economical internal arrangement, his exterior of the building caught your eye from every angle viewed. The engravings capture the magnificent architecture, supplemented by an illustration 10 years later from the Simon catalogue.

 The octagonal tower consisted primarily of a chimney shaft, with a spiral staircase winding round and enclosed by the octagonal outer wall. This allowed easy access to each of the floors by galleries which were outside the three buildings and provided the only communication between them. On top of the tower was an iron water tank that held 25,000 gallons of water in case of fire. From the tank to the ground a main pipe ran with hoses on each landing that could be coupled up in case of fire. This arrangement was supplemented by an abundant supply of buckets!

 The roller floors on the first and third floors were described as having six sets of the largest four-roller mill type for the breaking process, the remaining rolls were smooth for the reduction of the semolina and middlings into flour, a process effected in ten operations. The wheat and its resulting semolina and middlings passed through 42 pairs of rolls, 30 and 31 inches in length, before it appeared as flour at the three "Eureka" flour packers on the second floor. The plant was installed by Mr H Simon and was said to produce a product of good quality.

 The final mill mentioned on the list of convention visits was the Royal Flour Mills on the Albert Embankment. These were situated near the southeast end of Vauxhall Bridge, and were the property of Mr Peter Mumford. ‘The Miller’ regarded the eternal view of the mill as presenting unusually good architectural features and described it as an imposing feature on the Albert Embankment. 

 The building had a 76 foot frontage to the River Thames and was 80 feet high from ground to the ridge of the roof. On the river frontage there were two lucams of two storeys for loading and unloading the barges and hoisting to the top floor. Another lucam was on the south front for hoisting from wagons. In 1875 only two years after ‘The Miller’ started publishing, it gave a full description of the mill on the millstone system.

Read more from our online edition of 'May 2017, Milling and Grain magazine' - HERE.

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