Researching and reporting - The roller flour milling revolution
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Revolution is a loaded word, particularly, for instance, if it is preceded by a definite article, an adjective like ‘Hungarian’ and date such as ‘1956.’ However, the Hungarian Revolution, or ...

Revolution is a loaded word, particularly, for instance, if it is preceded by a definite article, an adjective like ‘Hungarian’ and date such as ‘1956.’ However, the Hungarian Revolution, or uprising against the government of the Hungarian People's Republic, is still in living memory but the Roller Flour Milling Revolution began more than 150 years ago. So why should readers of GFMT be concerned about it?

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Researching and reporting - The roller flour milling revolution Researching and reporting - The roller flour milling revolution Document Transcript

  • Digital Re-print - March | April 2014 Researching and reporting - The roller flour milling revolution www.gfmt.co.uk Grain & Feed MillingTechnology is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2014 Perendale Publishers Ltd.All rights reserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1466-3872
  • R evolution is a loaded word, particularly, for instance, if it is preceded by a definite article, an adjective like ‘Hungarian’ and date such as ‘1956.’ However, the Hungarian Revolution, or uprising against the government of the Hungarian People's Republic, is still in living memory but the Roller Flour Milling Revolution began more than 150 years ago. So why should readers of GFMT be concerned about it? To begin to answer that question suppose we look back to May 1881 and an advertisement in trade journal THE MILLER (Figure 1) But this is only the beginning of an answer because there is no mention of roller flour mill machinery so we need a little more research. I have numbered and sub-titled the following 5 paragraphs because the Roller Flour Milling Revolution was a technological and sociological response to several interrelated factors: 01 Consumer preferences for white flour and bread: Wheat flour – for many people’s daily bread – had been stone ground for centuries and mainly in the UK by wind- or water-powered flour mills. It was a sudden death process which swiftly transformed wheat berries into wholemeal flour containing some bran and some wheat-germ. High milling – with the stones slightly further apart – and sieving or purification produced a whiter flour and a greater percentage of offal or animal feed. For generations, white bread had been the preferred bread of the rich while the poor ate dark bread. By the beginning of C-19th bakers made 3 classes of bread: white from which all the bran had been separated; wheaten from which the coarser bran was removed; and household which was made from whole-meal flour. 02 Market demand: During the C-18th and into the C-19th UK flour milling tried to keep pace with the growth of population, the development of densely-populated urban industrial centres and other changes caused by the Industrial Revolution – broadly dated between the 1760s and the 1840s. 03 Meeting the market demand with bigger flour mills: The needs of a growing urban settlement outstripped the supply of flour from rural wind- and water-mills and where there were town mills they had to compete for water-power with other forms of manufacture. So great was the demand for water-power in more prosperous and increasingly industrialised areas that it became difficult to find sites for additional water-powered mills of any kind within reasonable reach of the expanding urban areas which provided a market. From the early C-19th steam became a powerful alternative source of power to wind and water and big steam engines could drive big flour mills. 04 Competition from overseas: Millers were also experiencing competition from imported wheat and flour. Several European countries, especially Hungary, and the USA were ahead of England in developing large-scale industrial roller flour milling. Steam-powered railways and sea-going vessels could bring wheat, and fine-quality flour, from the USA in quantities that allowed very competitive pricing. 05 Supplying the market for flour: increasingly the customers for flour were urban bakeries which became larger, more centralised and increasingly mechanised. These bakeries demanded a consistent quality of white flour because most of their customers wanted white bread. Revolutions often need a catalyst to precipitate change. The catalyst in the UK was the International Exhibition of Flour Milling Machinery which opened in the Agricultural Halls, Islington, London 133 years ago for 5 consecutive days in May 1881. Millers who visited the Exhibition were able to watch flour mills at work, to see, smell and – with the miller’s thumb – feel the flour being produced, and to learn from the exhibitors how they could join this Revolution. The catalysts for further research From 1975 to 1981 I was employed by South Yorkshire County Council as Curator, Miller, Mill Manager and general Gofer• at Worsbrough Flour Mill on the outskirts of Barnsley, South Yorkshire. (• Gofer [noun] A term for an employee, servant, or slave whose primary responsibility is to fetch items and bring them back to his or her boss, master, or owner. URBAN DICTIONARY www.urbandictionary.com. My catalyst was a conducted visit to Ranks Hovis McDougall Town Mills, Rotherham by the Mill Manager, the [late] Frank O’Shea when I, like my predecessors in London, could see, smell and feel the flour being produced by a roller flour mill. Frank explained the technology so I learned the differences between a sudden death process stone mill like Worsbrough and a gradual reduction process mill like RHM Town Mills. And Roger Gilbert’s catalyst which led to this article for GFMT: On Tuesday 11 March this year Bryan McGee and I gave a presen- tation to a very well-filled meeting of London & South East Millers Society at nabim in Arlington Street, London, entitled: The Roller Flour Milling Revolution in the UK by Rob Shorland-Ball RESEARCHING AND REPORTINGTHE ROLLER FLOUR MILLING REVOLUTION "Revolutions often need a catalyst to precipitate change. The catalyst in the UK was the International Exhibition of Flour Milling Machinery which opened in the Agricultural Halls, Islington, London 133 years ago" Figure1 14 | March - April 2014 GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGYF
  • 1820s to the present In the discussion and networking which followed the presentation Roger introduced himself. He explained his role with Perendale Publishers, asked for some background information about my research and suggested that the story I had unfolded in the presen- tation might be a publishing lead for GFMT. GFMT has succeeded two of the important trade journals which were facilitators of the initial Roller Flour Milling Revolution – THE MILLER and MILLING – so to rediscover flour milling history in the C-21st trade journal is an educational and training resource. Researching the Roller Flour Milling Revolution The first flour I milled at Worsbrough was from English wheat supplied by a local farmer and I soon learned about strong wheats when the Worsbrough Flour (vintage 1976) bread which my wife baked is still recalled by our children as “Mum’s brown brick.” Frank O’Shea explained that I needed strong Canadian wheat – which he was then milling and, ideally, a roller plant. The roller plant was not an option because I was developing Worsbrough Mill as a museum of flour milling. My researches into the history of Worsbrough Mills (and the plural is not a typo) dated the water-powered mill as c1625 and the steam powered mill to c1840; both were stone mills. The older mill is the left-hand building in the picture and the steam mill, now bereft of boiler-house, chimney and steam engine, is the taller mill on the right. I had also discovered that miller John Watson had been at Worsbrough from 1865 to 1922 so he had taken the Mills through the changes of the Roller Flour Milling Revolution and despite the competition from Co-op Roller Flour Mill in Summer Lane, Barnsley, which opened only 3 miles away in 1889 (Figure 2). I left Worsbrough Mill Museum in 1981 but I have continued research into flour milling until, from 2011 to 2013 for an English Heritage Project, I was able to address an industrial heritage which has been overlooked or ignored but needs to be celebrated. Following advice from nabim I invited Bryan McGee to join the small Project Team and, as a public access base for our data-base I brought in The Mills Archive, Reading. The initial EH Project has achieved this: 01 A database of all the roller flour mills in England including those (currently) producing bread-flour from their own machinery. 02 A detailed Roller Flour Mills Record created from the database in 01– including historic and current photographs, text information, ma evidence and memories – of flour mills in the following categories: • Water-powered roller flour mills • Formerly steam-powered stone and roller flour mills • Roller flour mills • Disused roller flour mills including those converted to other uses 03 An illustrated Report on the flour mills recorded in 01 and 02 in the context of the Roller Milling Flour Revolution from the 1890s to the present. The Project Team is now exploring the possibility of extending the researching and recording of roller flour mills over the whole of the UK and Eire plus a little European and USA input to give context to the Roller Flour Milling Revolution in the UK. I hope you have read thus far and, just to whet your appetite for more, I plan to tell an illustrated history of roller flour milling in future issues of GFMT and answer the questions: • Why was Hungary mentioned at the beginning of this piece? • What was the origin of HOVIS as a trade name for flour and bread? To complete this article with a picture may help to answer the first question: Figure2 Worsbrough mill museum, Barnsley - opened in 1976 Figure4 Figure3 March - April 2014 | 15GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY www.oj-hojtryk.dk Die and roll re-working machines O&J Højtryk A/S Ørnevej 1, DK-6705 Esbjerg Ø CVR.: 73 66 86 11 Phone: +45 75 14 22 55 Fax: +45 82 28 91 41 mail: info@oj-hojtryk.dk F
  • Innovations for a better world. Strong partner in Grain Management. One of the big challenges of our age is to supply all the people worldwide with food. Every year, millions of tons of grain are collected, stored, and handled around the globe – and the upward trend is unbroken. Only the most up-to-date plant and equipment can guarantee rapidity and quality while minimizing raw material losses. In order to meet the increasingly stringent challenges, Bühler Grain Logistics provides with its capabilities the best possible solution – for conveying, clean- ing, drying, storing, dedusting or loading and unloading the most important commodity on earth. www.buhlergroup.com
  • www.gfmt.co.uk LINKS • See the full issue • Visit the GFMT website • Contact the GFMT Team • Subscribe to GFMT A subscription magazine for the global flour & feed milling industries - first published in 1891 INCORPORATING PORTS, DISTRIBUTION AND FORMULATION In this issue: • Researching and reporting: the roller flour milling revolution • What is Fumigation? A technique of pest control using a toxic gas • VIV Europe preview Our pull out centre section March-April2014 • Bread is the foundation of civilization • Conserving grains: through drying • Flour miller values weighbridge technology on the island of Zanzibar first published in 1891 This digital Re-print is part of the March | April 2014 edition of Grain & Feed Milling Technology magazine. Content from the magazine is available to view free-of-charge, both as a full online magazine on our website, and as an archive of individual features on the docstoc website. Please click here to view our other publications on www.docstoc.com. To purchase a paper copy of the magazine, or to subscribe to the paper edi- tion please contact our Circulation and Subscriptions Manager on the link adove. INFORMATION FOR ADVERTISERS - CLICK HERE Article reprints All Grain & Feed Milling Tecchnology feature articles can be re-printed as a 4 or 8 page booklets (these have been used as point of sale materials, promotional materials for shows and exhibitions etc). If you are interested in getting this article re-printed please contact the GFMT team for more informa- tion on - Tel: +44 1242 267707 - Email: jamest@gfmt.co.uk or visit www.gfmt.co.uk/reprints