Author: Chris Wheeler
This is a question I have been asking all week. Having worked for 2 weeks on the partly indexed material on Lincolnshire and Suffolk windmills in Peter Dolman’s collection, this week I have turned my attention to Peter’s material on Whitmore and Binyon. None of this material has yet been catalogued or scanned, so it has been really fascinating to make discoveries along the way.
Throughout the week, I have consulted Phyllis Cockburn’s excellent book on Whitmore and Binyon, which reveals more information on the company itself. Having morphed form Whitmore & Sons n 1860 to Whitmore and Binyon in 1868, the company really became successful after the introduction of iron roller mills in the 1880s and 1890s. The numbers of advertisements from this period that I have come across in Peter’s collection advertising milling machinery are a testament to this. Having helped to create 45 new roller plants by the mid-1890s, the company seemed to have reached its zenith. However, within five or six years the company had gone. So what went wrong?
Phyllis Cockburn suggests that the company spent a lot of money on workshops and machinery that they could not afford, but there must also be other reasons. After I have dealt with the photographs In Peter’s collection on the firm, I shall be moving on to look at his notes and documents on the company. Hopefully these will help to reveal some insights into why it declined so rapidly. Until then though, if anyone has any thoughts or information that would shed light on this please feel free to share.