August 30, 2017

31/08/2017: The flourmills of Hull continued

by Mildred Cookson, The Mills Archive, UK

As I mentioned in last month's article, my interest in the history of Hull as a flour-milling centre was kindled by our rescue of thousands of drawings of roller flourmills from the eighteenth century cellars of Gelder and Kitchen
Mildred Cookson
Image credit: Mills Archive UK

This firm of architects worked closely with Joseph Rank from the 1890s before branching out to cover other milling firms and most of the country. The early part of the story is well illustrated by two articles in “Milling” in June 1904.

About a mile upriver from Rank's Clarence Mills, which featured in the previous article, were the Swan Mills belonging to Messrs Rishworth, Ingleby and Lofthouse, owners of three established and important milling firms.

Erected in 1899 using the Simon system, by 1904 the Swan Mills' capacity had increased from 30 sacks per hour by adding a further 20 sack per hour plant. The Swan Mills were in an excellent location for transport either by water or rail, being on the east bank of the River Hull and within easy reach of Wilmington Station for goods trains.

The previous mills of Messrs Lofthouse and Hammond in Boroughbridge changed to other purposes, whereas the Albert Mills of the Rishworth Brothers in Leeds, continued flour production for a short time before the premises were bought by the City Corporation to make room for street improvements!
Swan Flour Mills, HullImage credit: Mills Archive UK

The third partners, JA Ingleby & Son of Tadcaster were part of the Ingleby family, who had long been known in West Riding flour milling. Mr Joseph Auton Ingleby had been a miller for some years at Harewood Bridge before purchasing the Tadcaster Mills and developing the mills into a fine property.

His son, Mr JH Ingleby proved a worthy successor, joining the firm to build the new mills in Hull. Mr J Ingleby was to become a partner with Henry Simon, and in 1907 gave up the Chairmanship of Henry Simon Ltd, but retained his position as chairman of Simon-Carves Ltd.

The receiving house at Swan Mills was on the quay between the silo granary and the provender mill, and was provided with a ship elevator capable of lifting 50 tonnes per hour. The large building in the centre of the site with the sprinkler tower, near the middle, was divided into three sections. The longest being the mill proper, designed to contain two 30-sack plants.

The opposite end held the wheat cleaning department and the middle section under the tower contained the rope alley for connecting the engine with the main line shafts. The roller floor was arranged with three lines of Simon double rollers, ten on the four breaks, being 60 inches, and sixteen smooth mills on the reductions, with 40 inch rolls, all of Simon’s heavy pattern.

“Milling,” reported at the time that one roller mill that had been recently introduced was of an entirely new construction. It was claimed it would create a sensation when put on the market, but unfortunately, it was still a secret at the time of the report.

The guards round the pulleys and belt drive of the rollers were said to be the neatest seen and the appearance of the whole roller floor was noted as excellent. On the second floor were 14 double Simon dustless “Reform” purifiers arranged in a single line.

These machines all had auto-oiling baths for the eccentrics to run in, making them work smoothly. The arrangement of double sieves, set at opposite positions to each other in relation to the eccentric shaft, made the sieves reciprocate without jarring and enabled the operator to adjust the machine with much greater accuracy than in the case of a single sieve purifier.

The scalping was done on the third floor with Simons rotary sieves working on the first and second break chops and Simon’s double horizontal centrifugals on the third and fourth. The flour dressing was all done on 40 three-sheet Simon centrifugals on the top floor, placed two high, giving a very neat arrangement.

The system of milling might have been regarded as a long one, but it was longest in break roll surface and purification. The view of the four grades of flour, and the divisions being made, proved not only was the machinery perfect, but also well handled.

The wheat-cleaning house, or ‘grain laundry’ as it was called was very interesting. There were two large Simon washers and three Simon whizzers, two Simon rotary separators, a divider for feeding cylinders with equal streams of wheat, Simon’s dustless milling separator, 24 cylinders, four columns of conditioning apparatus, with hot and cold air fans and air heater.

Read the full article, HERE.

Visit the Mills Archive UK website, HERE.

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