April 16, 2018

17/04/2018: Messrs. Cannon and Gaze’s Mills Erith, Kent

The election of Mr Stephen Cannon as President of the National Association of British and Irish Millers in 1903 occasioned two extensive articles in Milling that year: A biography on April 18 and a description of his Erith mills on June 6. The mills were visited as part of the nabim annual meeting that year.  
Mildred Cookson

The account of the visit opened, "On arriving at Erith, these mills were easy to find, because they formed an important object in the line of sight, riverwards, as we alighted from the train. They come within the category of port mills, for they are on the banks of the Thames and have berths for ten 250-ton barges alongside.”
Messrs Cannon and Gaze's Mills, ErithImage credit: The Mills Archive

The Cannon family at Erith Mills had been millers in Kent for nearly 150 years, going back to the 1750s. When the roller mill system started to come into vogue in the 1860s, Mr Stephen Cannon was one of the largest owners of millstone flour mills in Kent. In 1881 Mr Cannon took Mr JT Gaze into partnership in the Erith Mills and carried on his other three mills with 17 pairs of stones on his own account. The partnership prospered and in 1892 the businesses of the four mills were amalgamated into a family limited Company, under the name of Cannon and Gaze Limited. A new building was erected at Erith, installed with an up to date roller plant by T Robinson & Son, and the business of the four mills was concentrated there. The stone plants at the other mills belonging to the firm were either employed on provender milling or relinquished.

Although the Cannon family milling career goes back to the latter part of the 18th century, it began in Earnest at the beginning of the 19th Century. In 1801 Stephen Cannon’s grandfather, also called Stephen, was born at South Darenth Mills Kent. These mills were on the River Darenth and were driven by waterpower. The machinery consisted of three pairs of stones with a bolting mill for dressing the flour. Based on this simple outfit a lucrative trade had been established and the foundation laid for a family of successful millers.

Read the full article, HERE.

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