On a roll: the world’s first roller flour mill archive and library!

January 12th 2017 by Liz Bartram

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded £40,000 by the Garfield Weston Foundation, which has its own origins in the mill world. This grant will be used to create the world’s first roller flour mill archive and library here at the Mills Archive in Reading.
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Our holdings date back 2000 years to the Han Dynasty, but the most significant and by far the largest part originates from the last half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the 20th century. This period set in place a revolution in the production and quality of flour, introducing ever more efficient milling technology and accelerating the decline of traditional wind and watermills.

Unfortunately, this vital part of our milling heritage has been neglected by researchers and historians as they have difficulty in locating relevant information.

Many early records of the early days of roller flour milling have either been lost or are dispersed and poorly catalogued. We are working to remedy this neglect by building the world's first roller flour mill archive and library and in making our roller mill material more accessible to the public.

We are very grateful to the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation, who are all descendants of the Foundation’s namesake. Garfield Weston (1898-1978) was a major player in the roller mill revolution. He brought his biscuit-making business over to the UK from Canada and the associated high-tech equipment in use at that time. Here he expanded his business and came to lead a number of subsidiaries including Associated British Foods.

We will have lots more to say in the coming months, but in the meantime, why not subscribe to our roller flour mill enewsletter to receive interesting updates on our roller mill material? Please contact me at friends@millsarchive.org if you would like me to add you to the mailing list.