Fleur-De-Lys Factory at Emscote Warwick

Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and others by Anthony James Leahy

 

 

The Following Images were taken from Video footage of the Fleur De Lys Pie Factory known as Flurdys) the day the demolition teams went in.

 

Emscote, Kench and Fleur de Lys Three Contemporary Accounts.

Text from the quarterly bulletin of Warwick industrial archaeology society summer 1993 issue No.2

 

Perhaps the most significant loss of the past year has been the demolition of the former Emscote Mill (later pie factory) on the Warwick and Napton (later Grand Union) Canal. This was a significant site, with the water-wheel powered by surplus water from the canal. Perhaps we, as a group, should have fought harder to save at least some of the buildings, but they were not a notably attractive set of buildings, particularly with the later additions. Successful conversion to dwellings would have been a difficult task. Fortunately, several members of the Society were observed making a full photographic record of the remaining buildings and their demolition. Perhaps this could become part of a brief talk to members during the winter months. There is scant recorded evidence of the workings of the Mill, but Mr. D. Rishworth, a member of the milling family later to operate the Emscote and Rock Mills, has generously made available a collection of documents that may help to improve knowledge of the mill's early history. These documents will take some time to work upon, but we hope that a digest can eventually appear in a later edition of Retort! For the moment, we reproduce three contemporary accounts of Emscote Mill. The opening of the Mill clearly made a striking impression:

 

 

Fleur De Lys Pie Factory prior to demolition

 

Reprinted from the Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser and Leamington Gazette of January 4th, 1806.

The New Mill.—Last week the new Cornmill belonging to Messrs. Tomes and Handley, erected on the side of the Warwick and Napton Canal, near the town, began to work in the presence of many respectable millers and mechanics,; who expressed the highest satisfaction at the complete manner in which it went off. This mill is constructed to be worked by a small quantity of superfluous water from the canal, and has power to drive five pair of stones with suitable machinery, grinding and dressing 600 sacks of flour, weekly; and promises to be productive of a considerable increase of trade both upon the canal and to the market. The great water-wheel is 24 feet in diameter and 7feet wide, the pit-wheel 14 feet diameter, the spur wheel 12, and the crown-wheel 14. The shaft and wheels are of iron, and to such perfection is the art' of iron-casting now arrived, that the great wheel is no heavier than one constructed of wood of the same dimensions.—The works, we understand, were executed by Mr. Roberts, millwright, of Warwick, whose ingenuity, care and attention, has been such as to entitle him to much praise. It is with considerable pleasure we observe that cast iron can, with so much effect, be applied to those purposes in mills, that have heretofore consumed such large quantities of the best oak in the kingdom, and which may be appropriated to ship-building and other useful purposes.

 

 

 

Fleur De Lys Factory Frontage

 

The Mill is also highly commended in W. Field's An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town and Castle of Warwick (1815)

 

NAVIGATION MILL.

This is situated near the Navigation Bridge, on the Emscote Road. It was erected in the year 1805,  by Messrs. Tomes and Handley. The wheel is of that kind which is called back-shot, and is turned "by the superfluous water, flowing from the Warwick and Napton Cana!, down a fall of 27 feet, and thence runs into the Avon. This great wheel is of cast iron and excellent nut construction, which does credit to the maker, Mr. Roberts, of Warwick; measuring in diameter 24 feet. The mill is furnished with five pair of stones; three of which are kept constantly in motion. The apparatus is, in every part, well constructed: and the contrivance is singularly good for loading and unloading. This mill is capable of grinding and dressing, for bread flour, upwards of 300 bushels per day.

The mill was subject to two periods of rebuilding - one in 1885 and another in1905.

 

 

Fleur De Lys from newly built mews and from Canal Bridge

 

THE Warwick Flour Mills.

Reprinted from the Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser and Leamington Gazette of June 3rd, 1905.

 

Extensive alterations and additions have lately been carried out at the Emscote Flour Mills—the opening of which " in the presence of many respectable millers and mechanics" was recorded in the first issue of the Warwick Advertiser in January, 1806. In order to meet modern requirements, and to obtain greater comfort and convenience, Messrs. Kench and Bon have erected a large additional block of buildings which enables the machinery to be separated from the sacks of corn, etc., stored in the older portion of the premises, and by letting daylight into the work should lend to considerably increase the efficiency of the “Mid-England Flour Mills." Mr. Sheldon Kench gave our representative the opportunity the other day of looking over the Mill premises, and the visit proved exceptionally interesting, Knowing, as it did, what great changes have taken place in the milling industry during the past KM) years. Not the least surprising fact about the Emscote mills is that not withstanding the great alterations which were effected in 1885 and again during the past year, a few portions of the original fittings still remain in daily use. For instance, the grout cast-iron water wheel, 24ft. in diameter and 7ft wide, which the writer in the year 1801  spoke of as being "no heavier than one constructed of wood of the same dimensions" still pursues its daily round, fed by water from the Warwick and Napton Canal, and the heavy wooden shafting which was used to hoist sacks from the canal boats can still be seen performing the same operation any day of the week. When one has said this, however, one has said all, so far as the working of the mill is concerned, for both as to the grinding machinery and motive power used for the same there is a world of difference compared with what the "respectable millers and mechanics" witnessed in 1801. Many of the large fluted stones which were employed to crush earn up to 20 years ago are now used to pave the stable-yard, and the motive power which drives the complicated machinery is derived from a 100-h.p. steam engine.

 

 

   

Fleur De Lys Pie Factory Emscote Tavern Rear and from the Canal

 

So different are the requirements of the present day that wheat which used to ho dealt with by three machines now has to run the gauntlet of about 80. The great change from stone to chilled-iron rollers was made in 1845 by Messrs. Lampitt and Son, Ltd., but, since then, wear and tear, combined with a dark and unsuitable building, made it necessary to re-arrange the plant, and by the advice of Messrs. Briddon and Fowler, milling engineers, of Manchester and Banbury, Messrs. Kench and Son decided to create a new building with high-light floors, to part with some of the old machines, move the remainder to join some new ones, and re-arrange the whole according to the latest system. This has now been done, and though it involves the loss of a great part of the old building, it has produced such good results, in the shape of comfort and daylight, as must be an advantage in the conducting of the business. In fact, looking at the old mill now, one wonders how the work could have been carried on previously at all. A. detailed account was given in 1885 of the chilled iron roller system (which still prevails), but it may be said of the flour produced under the new process that it is thirty times purified; indeed, human ingenuity seems to have striven to the utmost to ensure that every element of impurity shall be removed from the "staff of life" consumed at the present day. On account of scarcity, only one-tenth of the wheat ground at the Mid-England Flour Mills is grown in England, and it is only fair to say that the character of the home-grown wheat would scarcely require some of the precautions which have to be taken in regard to that of foreign origin. Most of the wheat milled at Emscote comes from India, Russia, Canada, South America, and Australia, and it is largely owing to the methods of harvesting adopted in those countries that the English miller has to be especially careful in winnowing the corn.

 

 

The house to the left was part of the pie factory site - Canal Buildings occupied by Van Hire Company

 

A considerable amount of barley grows with the Indian wheat, and to remove this there is a specially-devised machine which removes everything of different size to the wheat. The wheat is then thoroughly washed and brushed, and after passing under a number of powerful magnets which attract certain stray bits of metal that would otherwise pass on and injure the silk through which the flour has to pass, the wheat goes on to the fluted rollers which break it down. Various processes of separation, grading, and purification follow, and to remove all the fibrous substances attaching to the grains of crushed wheat an air current is drawn through a silk sieve. After passing through the smooth rollers which grind the flour, the latter is sent on to a centrifugal dressing machine, where revolving beaters drive the flour through silk gauze. Much is said in these days on the subject of "White" verses "Wholemeal" bread, but there is little doubt that the advocate of the latter would prefer not to eat much of the material that is extracted in the production of white flour if they examined it. Also a sure guide in such matters can be found in the fact that those who work hard with their muscles are not found eating bread with bran in it, though those leading sedentary lives may find it more useful than palatable, unless well buttered or otherwise assisted. It should be stated that very elaborate precautions have been taken to guard against fire in the mill premises. It seems that air charged with a certain proportion of flour dost is as explosive as gas; and the mills are therefore subjected to a higher rate of premium by the insurance companies unless very elaborate steps are taken to guard against fire. Every 10 square feet, therefore, is covered by a patent water sprinkler, the idea being that should a fire break out the heat would melt the solder and let the water fly out. Should this happen a lire-gong would beset going which would give the alarm. Mr. F. P. Trepass is the architect of the new buildings, which were built by Messrs. J.H. Cashmore aud Sons. Messrs. Plucknett and Sons will install the electric light fittings, which will take current from the public supply to commence with.

PRINTED BY EVANS AND CO., "ADVERTISER" OFFICE, WARWICK.

 

  

Emscote Tavern was sold by the proprietor Betty and became Bennies American Bar prior to demolition - Canal-side building backing Van Hire Company's site.

 

 

 

The final hours of an historic building - Photography Brian Jones

 

Building on approach to coke yard (power station site (Tesco)) next to the Emscote Tavern. May date from original boat builders yard that was on the site.

 

The Apartment Building on the site of the Navigation Mill (Nov 2009)

 

Video footage

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Last Days As A Flour Mill 1961

 

Charles William Tallis (left) born in Warwick 1898 and lived in Wathen Road Warwick from 1928 until his death in 1971. He was working at the mill at the time of his marriage in 1919 after his service in the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. He may have worked there from School. Originally he was Flour Miller, later he became a Millwright and looked after the mills engines.

 

Charles William Tallis (second left) Can You help Identify The Others?

 

Article relating the impending closure of the Mill 1961 - Warwick Advertiser Sept 3rd 1961

Photographs and clipping by kind permission of Keith Clarke (grandson of C W Tallis)

 

Navigation Mill Emscote Pre 1961

Photograph courtesy of Brian Jones

 

Billboard advertising Premium Bonds on wall of Navigation Mill (First Introduced 1956)

 

 

 

Brook's Club (Pie Factory Social Club)

 

Photography Brenda Ousbey - Courtesy Geoff Ousbey

 

 

Photography Brenda Ousbey - Courtesy Geoff Ousbey

 

 

 

              

 

 

 

 

The last hours of an historic building - Photographs courtesy Brian Jones

 

 

The Navigation Mill Emscote Warwick. C1900

 

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